We review our recent efforts on developing HgCdSe infrared materials on GaSb substrates via molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) for fabricating next generation infrared detectors with features of lower production cost and larger focal plane array format size. In order to achieve high-quality HgCdSe epilayers, ZnTe buffer layers are grown before growing HgCdSe, and the study of misfit strain in ZnTe buffer layers shows that the thickness of ZnTe buffer layer needs to be below 300 nm in order to minimize the generation of misfit dislocations. The cut-off wavelength/alloy composition of HgCdSe materials can be varied in a wide range by varying the ratio of Se/Cd beam equivalent pressure during the HgCdSe growth. Growth temperature presents significant impact on the material quality of HgCdSe, and lower growth temperature leads to higher material quality for HgCdSe. Typically, long-wave infrared HgCdSe (x=0.18, cut-off wavelength of at 80 K) presents an electron mobility as high as , a background electron concentration as low as 1.6×1016 cm−3, and a minority carrier lifetime as long as . These values of electron mobility and minority carrier lifetime represent a significant improvement on previous studies of MBE-grown HgCdSe reported in the open literatures, and are comparable to those of counterpart HgCdTe materials grown on lattice-matched CdZnTe substrates. These results indicate that HgCdSe grown at the University of Western Australia, especially long-wave infrared can meet the basic material quality requirements for making high performance infrared detectors although further effort is required to control the background electron concentration to below 1015 cm−3. More importantly, even higher quality HgCdSe materials on GaSb are expected by further optimizing the growth conditions, using higher purity Se source material, and implementing post-growth thermal annealing and defect/impurity gettering/filtering. Our results demonstrate the great potential of HgCdSe infrared materials grown on GaSb substrates for fabricating next generation infrared detectors with features of lower cost and larger array format size.
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