Final report on LDRD project : single-photon-sensitive imaging detector arrays at 1600 nm.

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The key need that this project has addressed is a short-wave infrared light detector for ranging (LIDAR) imaging at temperatures greater than 100K, as desired by nonproliferation and work for other customers. Several novel device structures to improve avalanche photodiodes (APDs) were fabricated to achieve the desired APD performance. A primary challenge to achieving high sensitivity APDs at 1550 nm is that the small band-gap materials (e.g., InGaAs or Ge) necessary to detect low-energy photons exhibit higher dark counts and higher multiplication noise compared to materials like silicon. To overcome these historical problems APDs were designed and fabricated using separate ... continued below

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58 p.

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Childs, Kenton David; Serkland, Darwin Keith; Geib, Kent Martin; Hawkins, Samuel D.; Carroll, Malcolm S.; Klem, John Frederick et al. November 1, 2006.

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Description

The key need that this project has addressed is a short-wave infrared light detector for ranging (LIDAR) imaging at temperatures greater than 100K, as desired by nonproliferation and work for other customers. Several novel device structures to improve avalanche photodiodes (APDs) were fabricated to achieve the desired APD performance. A primary challenge to achieving high sensitivity APDs at 1550 nm is that the small band-gap materials (e.g., InGaAs or Ge) necessary to detect low-energy photons exhibit higher dark counts and higher multiplication noise compared to materials like silicon. To overcome these historical problems APDs were designed and fabricated using separate absorption and multiplication (SAM) regions. The absorption regions used (InGaAs or Ge) to leverage these materials 1550 nm sensitivity. Geiger mode detection was chosen to circumvent gain noise issues in the III-V and Ge multiplication regions, while a novel Ge/Si device was built to examine the utility of transferring photoelectrons in a silicon multiplication region. Silicon is known to have very good analog and GM multiplication properties. The proposed devices represented a high-risk for high-reward approach. Therefore one primary goal of this work was to experimentally resolve uncertainty about the novel APD structures. This work specifically examined three different designs. An InGaAs/InAlAs Geiger mode (GM) structure was proposed for the superior multiplication properties of the InAlAs. The hypothesis to be tested in this structure was whether InAlAs really presented an advantage in GM. A Ge/Si SAM was proposed representing the best possible multiplication material (i.e., silicon), however, significant uncertainty existed about both the Ge material quality and the ability to transfer photoelectrons across the Ge/Si interface. Finally a third pure germanium GM structure was proposed because bulk germanium has been reported to have better dark count properties. However, significant uncertainty existed about the quantum efficiency at 1550 nm the necessary operating temperature. This project has resulted in several conclusions after fabrication and measurement of the proposed structures. We have successfully demonstrated the Ge/Si proof-of-concept in producing high analog gain in a silicon region while absorbing in a Ge region. This has included significant Ge processing infrastructure development at Sandia. However, sensitivity is limited at low temperatures due to high dark currents that we ascribe to tunneling. This leaves remaining uncertainty about whether this structure can achieve the desired performance with further development. GM detection in InGaAs/InAlAs, Ge/Si, Si and pure Ge devices fabricated at Sandia was shown to overcome gain noise challenges, which represents critical learning that will enable Sandia to respond to future single photon detection needs. However, challenges to the operation of these devices in GM remain. The InAlAs multiplication region was not found to be significantly superior to current InP regions for GM, however, improved multiplication region design of InGaAs/InP APDs has been highlighted. For Ge GM detectors it still remains unclear whether an optimal trade-off of parameters can achieve the necessary sensitivity at 1550 nm. To further examine these remaining questions, as well as other application spaces for these technologies, funding for an Intelligence Community post-doc was awarded this year.

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58 p.

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  • Report No.: SAND2006-7420
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000
  • DOI: 10.2172/949014 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 949014
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc930197

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  • November 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 3:51 p.m.

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Childs, Kenton David; Serkland, Darwin Keith; Geib, Kent Martin; Hawkins, Samuel D.; Carroll, Malcolm S.; Klem, John Frederick et al. Final report on LDRD project : single-photon-sensitive imaging detector arrays at 1600 nm., report, November 1, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc930197/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.