, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 912-917
Date: 06 May 2010

Full-Band Monte Carlo Simulation of HgCdTe APDs

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A full-band Monte Carlo model has been developed for understanding the carrier multiplication process in HgCdTe infrared avalanche photodiodes. The proposed model is based on a realistic electronic structure obtained by pseudopotential calculations and a phonon dispersion relation determined by ab initio techniques. The calculated carrier–phonon scattering rates are consistent with the electronic structure and the phonon dispersion relation, thus removing adjustable parameters such as deformation potential coefficients. The computation of the impact ionization transition rate is based on the calculated electronic structure and the corresponding wavevector-dependent dielectric function. The Monte Carlo model is applied to investigate key performance figures of long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) and mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) HgCdTe avalanche photodetectors such as carrier multiplication and noise properties. Good agreement is achieved between simulations and experimental results. The multiplication process in LWIR (λ c = 9.0 μm at 80 K) and MWIR (λ c = 5.1 μm at 80 K) devices is found to be initiated only by electrons, as expected from excess noise measurements. This single-carrier multiplication behavior can be traced back to the details of the computed valence-band structure and phonon scattering rates.