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A charge control model was used to simulate the sensitivity and responsivity in a range of photodetector configurations including heterojunction bipolar phototransistors (HPTs), PIN-HBT, and APDs. Our simulations enabled for the first time a direct comparison of the performance between these photodetectors to be made. Simulations have been performed at bit rates from 2 to 40 Gb/s using various combinations of device design parameters (layer thickness, source resistance, and dc base voltage). For a BER=10-9 at 40 Gb/s the best sensitivity of approximately -20 dBm was achieved using an optimized APD-HBT configuration, followed by sensitivities of approximately -14 dBm using optimized PIN-HBTs and HPTs. These results were found to agree well with published experimental data.