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12 November 2001 Advances in HgCdTe-based infrared detector materials: the role of molecular-beam epitaxy
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Since its initial synthesis and investigation more than 40 years ago, the HgCdTe alloy semiconductor system has evolved into one of the primary infrared detector materials for high-performance infrared focal-plane arrays (FPA) designed to operate in the 3-5 mm and 8-12 mm spectral ranges of importance for thermal imaging systems. Over the course of the past decade, significant advances have been made in the development of thin-film epitaxial growth techniques, such as molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE), which have enabled the synthesis of IR detector device structures with complex doping and composition profiles. The central role played by in situ sensors for monitoring and control of the MBE growth process are reviewed. The development of MBE HgCdTe growth technology is discussed in three particular device applications: avalanche photodiodes for 1.55 +m photodetection, megapixel FPAs on Si substrates, and multispectral IR detectors.
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