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Proceedings Paper

The carbon nanotube-silicon heterojunction as infrared detector
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Paper Abstract

Carbon nanotubes are a unique material that can be either metallic or semiconducting, usually with a small bandgap inversely proportional to tube diameter and with interesting optical properties. However, their general randomness in length, diameter, and chirality, and the challenges in aggregating sufficiently large quantities of precisely uniform nanotubes, render its applications in optical detection so far unattainable beyond simple absorptive coating. The highly-ordered carbon nanotube array, as grown by the non-lithographic methods described here, surmounts many of these obstacles while presenting a geometry that is useful for focal plane array applications. A nanoporous alumina template assists the nanotube growth, which proceeds by carbon vapor deposition in a technique that is compatible with integration on silicon. We report on the experimental treatment of one possible platform for applying carbon nanotubes in infrared detection: a heterojunction photodiode with silicon. The nanotube-silicon heterojunction has rectifying characteristics that are consistent with silicon doping type, nanotube work function, and silicon-nanotube bandgaps. We investigate this hybrid nanostructure with spectral photocurrent measurements in the near and mid-infrared regime in both cooled and uncooled modes of detection. Transient photocurrent analysis suggests that both pyroelectric and direct optoelectronic effects are sources of photoresponse. First-principle theoretical treatments of nanotube-silicon heterojunction detection imply that performance parameters such as D* could be greatly optimized in future generations of samples. We explore the suitability of this detector prototype for spaceborne applications where many known properties of carbon, such as chemical and mechanical durability as well as strong covalent bonding and therefore radiation hardness, merit its consideration.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 August 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6308, Photonics for Space Environments XI, 63080Q (29 August 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.679518
Show Author Affiliations
Daniel A. Straus, Brown Univ. (United States)
Marian Tzolov, Lock Haven Univ. of Pennsylvania (United States)
Teng-Fang Kuo, Brown Univ. (United States)
Aijun Yin, Brown Univ. (United States)
David A. Cardimona, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Jimmy M. Xu, Brown Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6308:
Photonics for Space Environments XI
Edward W. Taylor, Editor(s)

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