Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-18-2018


Infrared (IR) detectors are an enabling technology for a broad and growing list of applications including gas detection, night vision, and space-based missile warning. There are ongoing efforts in IR detector research to explore the potential of new material systems and energy band structures in addition to continuously improving their sensitivity through increasing their quantum efficiency and lowering their dark current and noise. This dissertation examines an emerging class of IR detectors known as Interband Cascade Infrared Photodetectors (ICIPs).

ICIPs contain multiple regions to facilitate the collection of photogenerated electrons and to limit unwanted dark current. Theory regarding their performance also indicates that multi-stage ICIPs may have lower noise than single-stage ICIPs and may provide improved detectivity in cases where the absorption coefficient of a material system is small and/or where the diffusion length in the material is short or degraded.

In this work, four long-wavelength infrared ICIP devices with one, four, six, and eight stages were characterized at varying temperatures from 80 to 300 K and at biases up to one volt in both forward and reverse polarities. Noise spectra were collected on the four devices and show significant 1/f noise that prevented direct measurement of the ICIP noise gain. The 1/f noise in the ICIPs was correlated to generation-recombination current. The devices were found to cause circuit instability when operated in bias regions with negative differential conductance (NDC) due to bias-dependent resonant tunneling. Additionally, bias-dependent photocurrent gain was observed using illumination of the devices with 632 nm and 1550 nm lasers which peaked near the NDC regions. This photocurrent gain was experimentally shown to be linked to current-mismatch between device stages, supporting theories regarding its origin.


Noise, Infrared, Photodetectors, Cascade, Interband

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ganesh Balakrishnan

Second Committee Member

Christian Morath

Third Committee Member

Francesca Cavallo

Fourth Committee Member

Adam Hecht