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Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

Source Publication

IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics

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A novel midinfrared sensor, called the quantum-dot avalanche photodiode (QDAP), is proposed which is expected to have improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the presence of Johnson noise over its quantum-dot (QD) counterpart. In the QDAP, an intersubband QD detector is coupled with a thin, low-noise GaAs avalanche layer through a tunnel barrier. The avalanche layer provides the necessary photocurrent gain required to overcome Johnson noise and nearly achieve the dark-current-limited SNR of the QD detector. In the proposed three-terminal device, the applied biases of the QD-detector and the avalanche-photodiode sections of the QDAP are controlled separately. This feature permits the control of the QDs responsivity and dark current independently of the operating avalanche gain, thereby allowing the optimization of the avalanche multiplication factor to maximize the photocurrent's SNR. Notably, a heterojunction potential-barrier layer can also be utilized to further improve the SNR. For example, when the standard deviation of the Johnson noise is four times greater than the dark current, calculations show that the SNR enhancement offered by an avalanche multiplication factor of 5 results in relaxing the cooling requirement from 20 to 80 K.


Accepted version. IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 41, No. 12 (2005): 1468-1473. DOI. © 2005 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Used with permission.

Majeed M. Hayat was affiliated with University of New Mexico, Albuquerque at the time of publication.

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