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Semiconductor

Photoconductive Detectors
S W McKnight and
C A DiMarzio
Types of Photoconductivity
• “Intrinsic photoconductors”
– Absorption across primary band-gap, Eg,
creates electron and hole photocarriers

• “Extrinsic photoconductors”
– Absorption from (or to) impurity site in gap
creates photocarriers in conduction or valence
band
Intrinsic and Extrinsic
E Photoconductors

Ef1
1
Eg
2 Ef2

Intrinsic Extrinsic
Photoconductor Photoconductor
1. Donor level to conduction band

2. Valence band to acceptor level


Impurities Levels in Si
Photoconductors
Material Eg (max) Material Eg (max)

Si 1.1eV(i) (1.2μ) PbS 0.37eV (3.3μ)

GaAs 1.43eV (0.87μ) InSb 0.18eV (6.9μ)

Ge 0.67eV(i) (1.8μ) PbTe 0.29eV (4.3μ)

CdS 2.42eV (0.51μ) Hg0.3Cd0.7 0.24eV (5.2μ)


Te (77K)
CdTe 1.58eV (0.78μ) Hg0.2Cd0.8 0.083eV (15μ)
Te (77K)
Indirect Gap Semiconductors

hνphonon
Eg
hνphoton
Direct Gap Semiconductors
E

hνphoton Eg k
Optical Constants of Silicon
8

7
Optical Constants (n, k)

n
4 k
k*1000
3

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200

Wavelength (nm)
GaAs Optical Constants
6

n
n, k

3 k
100*k

0
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200

Wavelength (nm)
Optical Electric Field and Power

q=ω (ε)1/2 = (ω/c) (n+ik)


Optical Electric Field and Power

A x (B x C) =
B(A·C) – C(A·B)

α = absorption coefficient = 2 ω k/c


Absorption Coefficient for
Si and GaAs
Reflection at Front Surface

For Silicon, near 600 nm: n=3.95 k=0.026

→ R = 0.35

(Can be reduced by anti-reflection coating)


Absorption in Semiconductor
α=2ωk/c
For Silicon near 600 nm: α = 4 π 0.026 / 600 x 10-9 = 5.44 x 105 m-1
For GaAs near 600 nm: α = 4.76 x 106 m-1
1

0.9

0.8
In(z)=Io e- z
Optical Power

0.7

0.6

0.5
Si
0.4

0.3

0.2 GaAs
0.1

0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Z (microns)
Carrier Generation/Recombination

Units: g = e-h excitations/sec/m3


r = m3/sec
1. Thermal Equilibrium:

2. Direct recombination of excess carriers:


Direct Recombination of Excess
Carriers
Direct recombination (low level)→ δn = δp << no
Photogenerated Carriers
3. Steady-state optical excitation:

Neglect for δn<<no


Differential Optical Excitation Rate
Photoconductivity

length=l

Area=A

Φp = photon flux (photon/sec)


η = quantum efficiency
Hole Trapping

Hole trapping at
recombination centers:
a. hole is trapped
b. electron trapped,
completing recombination
(c)
c. hole detraps to valence
band
Photoconductivity with Hole
Trapping

(Steady-state)

# of current-carrying photoelectrons = # of trapped holes


Photoconductive Gain
G = photocurrent (electron/sec) / rate of e-h generation

length=l

Area=A
Photoconductive Gain


Effect of Carrier Lifetime on
Detector Frequency Response
Photoconductor Bias Circuit
Photoconductive Voltage
Photoconductor Responsivity
Responsivity Factors
• Photocarrier lifetime
– Tradeoff with response frequency
• Quantum efficiency (anti-reflection
coating)
Detector
• Carrier mobility area=A d w

• Detector current Detector


t

• Dark resistance current, i


length=ℓ
– R= ℓ / σ A
– Detector area: Ad = ℓ w Cross-section
– Sample thickness area=A
Photoconductive Noise Factors
• 1/f Noise
– Contact related
• Thermal noise (Johnson noise)
– Statistical effect of thermal fluctuations
– <In2> ~ kT/R
• Generation-Recombination noise
– Statistical fluctuations in detector current
– Dark current (thermal electron-hole pairs)
– Background photogenerated carriers
– <In2> ~ Id / e
Noise Sources
Johnson noise:

G-R noise:

Ep = photon irradiance=Φp / Ad
G = photoconductive gain
Background-Limited
Photoconductive Detection
Johnson-Noise-Limited
Photoconductive Detection
Noise Sources for IR Detectors