The Shockley–Read–Hall (SRH) mechanism might be a limiting factor of an infrared (IR) photodiode's dark current. This limitation is twofold. SRH generation might occur in the depletion region of the photodiode. In that case, the corresponding current is usually limiting the low-temperature dark current. Moreover, SRH generation might also occur in the diffusion volume, close to the space charge region, resulting in an increase of the diffusion dark current, usually limiting the high-temperature behavior of the photodiode. Hence, the determination of the SRH lifetime of IR materials is of first importance and has to be measured (or at least estimated) to define upcoming trends in future high-performance IR detectors. During the last few years, a lot of papers have been published about SRH lifetime in III–V materials (InSb, superlattices, InAsSb) and a few other communications have been more focused on comparing different material systems including III–V and II–VI materials. Those latter communications proposed very long SRH lifetimes (longer than ms) for HgCdTe, instead of the classical 10–100 μs usually admitted until now. This paper aims at investigating this SRH lifetime in HgCdTe based on experimental measurements carried out at the Laboratoire d’électronique des technologies de l’information (LETI) on HgCdTe grown in-house. Direct lifetime measurement (photoconductive or photoluminescence decay) as well as indirect estimations from photodiode dark currents are discussed in order to clarify this question of SRH lifetime and its consequences in upcoming advanced IR detection structures. In the end, it appeared that except for p/n extrinsic heterojunctions (for which the narrow gap depleted volume is not well known), most of the devices tested seemed limited by SRH lifetimes in the 10–100-μs range.
HgCdTe SRH minority carrier lifetime high operating temperature IR detection full depletion
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