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Single high-energy (0.9 MeV) proton implantation and rapid thermal annealing was used to tune the spectral response of the quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs). In addition to the large redshift of the QWIPs’ response wavelength after implantation, either narrowed or broadened spectrum was obtained at different interdiffusion extent. In general, the overall device performance for the low-dose implantation was not significantly degraded. In comparison with the other implantation schemes, this single high-energy implantation is the most effective and simple technique in tuning the wavelength of QWIPs, thus, to achieve the fabrication of multicolor detectors. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.