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Sensors 2016, 16(6), 927; doi:10.3390/s16060927

Single Photon Counting UV Solar-Blind Detectors Using Silicon and III-Nitride Materials

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Department of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Albany, NY 12203, USA
Department of Microelectronics, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eric R. Fossum
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 5 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 21 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photon-Counting Image Sensors)


Ultraviolet (UV) studies in astronomy, cosmology, planetary studies, biological and medical applications often require precision detection of faint objects and in many cases require photon-counting detection. We present an overview of two approaches for achieving photon counting in the UV. The first approach involves UV enhancement of photon-counting silicon detectors, including electron multiplying charge-coupled devices and avalanche photodiodes. The approach used here employs molecular beam epitaxy for delta doping and superlattice doping for surface passivation and high UV quantum efficiency. Additional UV enhancements include antireflection (AR) and solar-blind UV bandpass coatings prepared by atomic layer deposition. Quantum efficiency (QE) measurements show QE > 50% in the 100–300 nm range for detectors with simple AR coatings, and QE ≅ 80% at ~206 nm has been shown when more complex AR coatings are used. The second approach is based on avalanche photodiodes in III-nitride materials with high QE and intrinsic solar blindness. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultraviolet; quantum efficiency; MBE; ALD; EMCCD; APD; ROIC; Avalanche; visible rejection; MOCVD; GaN ultraviolet; quantum efficiency; MBE; ALD; EMCCD; APD; ROIC; Avalanche; visible rejection; MOCVD; GaN

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nikzad, S.; Hoenk, M.; Jewell, A.D.; Hennessy, J.J.; Carver, A.G.; Jones, T.J.; Goodsall, T.M.; Hamden, E.T.; Suvarna, P.; Bulmer, J.; Shahedipour-Sandvik, F.; Charbon, E.; Padmanabhan, P.; Hancock, B.; Bell, L.D. Single Photon Counting UV Solar-Blind Detectors Using Silicon and III-Nitride Materials. Sensors 2016, 16, 927.

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