Dopant Incorporation in InAs/GaAs Quantum Dot Infrared Photodetectors
Quantum Dot Infrared Photodetectors (QDIPs) are important alternatives to conventional infrared photodetectors with high potential to provide required detector performance, such as higher temperature operation and multispectral response, due to the 3-D quantum confinement of electrons, discrete energy levels, and intrinsic response to perpendicular incident light due to selection rules. However, excessive dark current density, which causes QDIPs to underperform theoretical predictions, is a limiting factor for the advancement of QDIP technologies. The purpose of this dissertation research is to achieve a better understanding of dopant incorporation into the active region of QDIPs, which is directly related to dark current control and spectral response. From this dissertation research, doping related dipole fields are found to be responsible for excessive dark current in QDIPs.
InAs/GaAs QDIPs were grown using solid source molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) with different doping conditions. The QDIPs were optically characterized using photoluminescence and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Devices were fabricated using standard cleanroom fabrication procedures. Dark current and capacitance measurements were performed under different temperature to reveal electronic properties of the materials and devices. A novel scanning capacitance microscopy (SCM) technique was used to study the band structure and carrier concentration on the cross section of a quantum dot (QD) heterostructure. In addition, dark current modeling and bandstructure calculations were performed to verify and better understand experimental results.
Two widely used QDIP doping methods with different doping concentrations have been studied in this dissertation research, namely direct doping in InAs QD layer, and modulation doping in the GaAs barrier above InAs QD layer. In the SCM experiment, electron redistribution has been observed due to band-bending in the modulation-doping region, while there is no band-bending observed in directly doped samples. A good agreement between the calculated bandstructure and experimental results leads to better understanding of doping in QD structures. The charge filling process in QDs has been observed by an innovative polarization-dependent FT-IR spectroscopy. The red-shift of QD absorbance peaks with increasing electron occupation supports a miniband electronic configuration for high-density QD ensembles. In addition, the FT-IR measurement indicates the existence of donor-complex (DX) defect centers in Si-doped QDIPs. The existence of DX centers and related dipole fields have been confirmed by dark current measurements to extract activation energies and by photocapacitance quenching measurements.
With the understanding achieved from experimental results, a further improved dark current model has been developed based on the previous model originally established by Ryzhii and improved by Stiff-Roberts. In the model described in this dissertation, two new factors have been considered. The inclusion of background drift current originating from Si shallow donors in the low bias region results in excellent agreement between calculated and measured dark currents at different temperatures, which has not been achieved by previous models. A very significant effect has been observed in that dark current leakage occurs due to the dipole field caused by doping induced charge distribution and impact-ionized DX centers.
Last but not least, QDIPs featuring the dipole interface doping (DID) method have been designed to reduce the dark current density without changing the activation energy (thus detection wavelength) of QDIPs. The DID samples involve an InAs QD layer directly-doped by Si, as well as Be doping in the GaAs barrier on both sides of the QD layer. The experimental result shows the dark current density has been significantly reduced by 104 times without any significant change to the corresponding activation energy. However, the high p-type doping in the GaAs barrier poses a challenge in that the Fermi level is reduced to be well below the QD energy states. High p-type doping is reported to reduce the dark current, photocurrent and the responsivity of the devices.
To conclude, it is significant to identify to effect of Si-induced defect centers on QDIP dark currents. The subsequent study reveals doping induced dipole fields can have significant effects on QDIP device performance, for example, causing charge leakage from QDs and reducing activation energy, thereby increasing dark current density. The DID approach developed in this work is a promising approach that could help address these issues by using controlled dipole fields to reduce dark current density without changing the minimum detectable energy of QDIPs.
Dipole Interface Doping
Quantum Dot Heterostructure
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