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We report on a systematic study of the effect of barriers on quantum dots-in-a-well infrared photodetectors. Four devices are fabricated and characterized with varying composition for barriers adjacent to quantum dots and away from quantum dots. Effects of these “proximity” and “remote” barriers are studied by comparing photoluminescence, responsivity, dark current, background-limited operating temperature, activation energy, and detectivity. The growth mechanism for a conformal coverage of quantum dots with proximity barriers is described and supported with reflection high-energy electron diffraction and transmission electron microscopy images. It is shown that proximity barriers and remote barriers influence the characteristics of the detector very differently, with increases in proximity barrier energy leading to higher responsivity and lower dark current, while remote barriers reduce the responsivity and dark currents simultaneously. It is demonstrated that confinement enhancing barriers as proximity barriers optimize the SNR at low bias range, suitable for focal plane array applications.