Skip to Main Content
This article presents a review of the historical developments in optical detectors and discusses the motivations for interest in III-V semiconductors for optical-detector applications. Early device work in both depletion-mode photodiodes and avalanche photodiodes in III-V semiconductors is covered as well as the improvements that have been made in avalanche photodiode structures through work in silicon. Also, the results of ionization coefficient measurements on III-V compounds are summarized. Finally, several examples of recent avalanche photodiodes that utlilize the unique properties of heterostructures are presented.