The performance of the CBIRD detector is enhanced by using new device contacting methods that have been developed. The detector structure features a narrow gap adsorber sandwiched between a pair of complementary, unipolar barriers that are, in turn, surrounded by contact layers. In this innovation, the contact adjacent to the hole barrier is doped n-type, while the contact adjacent to the electron barrier is doped p-type.

The contact layers can have wider bandgaps than the adsorber layer, so long as good electrical contacts are made to them. If good electrical contacts are made to either (or both) of the barriers, then one could contact the barrier( s) directly, obviating the need for additional contact layers. Both the left and right contacts can be doped either n-type or p-type. Having an n-type contact layer next to the electron barrier creates a second p-n junction (the first being the one between the hole barrier and the adsorber) over which applied bias could drop. This reduces the voltage drop over the adsorber, thereby reducing dark current generation in the adsorber region.

This work was done by David Z. Ting, Cory J. Hill, and Sarath D. Gunapala of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-47042

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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