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9 May 2012 THz detectors based on heating of two-dimensional electron gas in disordered nitride heterostructures
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We present the results of design, fabrication, and characterization of the room-temperature, low electron heat capacity hot-electron THz microbolometers based on two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in AlGaN/GaN heterostructures. The 2DEG sensor is integrated with a broadband THz antenna and a coplanar waveguide. Devices with various patterning of 2DEG have been fabricated and tested. Optimizing the material properties, geometrical parameters of the 2DEG, and antenna design, we match the impedances of the sensor and antenna to reach strong coupling of THz radiation to 2DEG via the Drude absorption. Testing the detectors, we found that the THz-induced photocurrent, ΔI, is proportional to the bias current, I, and the temperature derivative of the resistance and inversely proportional to the area of 2DEG sensor, S. The analysis allowed us to identify the mechanism of the 2DEG response to THz radiation as electron heating. The responsivity of our sensors, normalized to the bias current and to unit area of 2DEG, R*= ΔI•S/ (I∙P), is ~ 103 W-1 μm2. So, for our typical sensor with an area of 1000 μm2 and bias currents of ~ 10 mA, the responsivity is ~ 0.01 A/W. The measurements of mixing at sub-terahertz frequencies showed that the mixing bandwidth is above 2 GHz, which corresponds to a characteristic electron relaxation time to be shorter than 0.7 ps. Further decrease of the size of 2DEG sensors will increase the responsivity as well as allows for decreasing the local oscillator power in heterodyne applications.
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V. Mitin, R. Ramaswamy, K. Wang, J. K. Choi, M. Pakmehr, A. Muraviev, M. Shur, R. Gaska, V. Pogrebnyak, and A. Sergeev "THz detectors based on heating of two-dimensional electron gas in disordered nitride heterostructures", Proc. SPIE 8363, Terahertz Physics, Devices, and Systems VI: Advanced Applications in Industry and Defense, 836307 (9 May 2012);

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