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Comparison of normal and inverted band structure HgTe/CdTe superlattices for very long wavelength infrared detectors

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The type III band alignment of HgTe/CdTe superlattices leads to the interesting possibility of achieving very long wavelength infrared (VLWIR) (15 µm and longer) cutoff wavelengths with either normal (HgTe layer thickness less than about 70 Å for CdTe layer thickness of 50 Å) or inverted (HgTe thickness greater than about 70 Å) band structures. The inverted band structure superlattices promise even greater cutoff wavelength control than the normal band structure ones. However, the electronic band gaps of inverted band structure superlattices are substantially less than their optical band gaps, leading to large thermal carrier concentrations even at temperature as low as 40 K. These high carrier concentrations in turn give rise to more rapid Auger recombination than normal band structure superlattices with the same cutoff wavelengths. We conclude that the highest performance is expected from VLWIR HgTe/CdTe superlattice-based detectors with normal band structure absorber layers.

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Grein, C.H., Jung, H., Singh, R. et al. Comparison of normal and inverted band structure HgTe/CdTe superlattices for very long wavelength infrared detectors. J. Electron. Mater. 34, 905–908 (2005).

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