Thiol passivation of MWIR Type II superlattice photodetectors
Poor passivation on photodetectors can result in catastrophic failure of the device. Abrupt termination of mesa side walls during pixel definition generates dangling bonds that lead to inversion layers and surface traps leading to surface leakage currents that short circuit diode action. Good passivation, therefore, is critical in the fabrication of high performance devices. Silicondioxide has been the main stay of passivation for commercial photodetectors, deposited at high temperatures and high RF powers using plasma deposition techniques. In photodetectors based on III-V compounds, sulphur passivation has been shown to replace oxygen and saturate the dangling bonds. Despite its effectiveness, it degrades over time. More effort is required to create passivation layers which eliminate surface leakage current. In this work, we propose the use of sulphur based octadecanethiol (ODT), CH3(CH2)17SH, as a passivation layer for the InAs/GaSb superlattice photodetectors that acts as a self assembled monolayer (SAM). ODT SAMs consist of a chain of 18 carbon atoms with a sulphur atom at its head. ODT Thiol coating is a simple process that consist of dipping the sample into the solution for a prescribed time. Excellent electrical performance of diodes tested confirm the effectiveness of the sulphur head stabilized by the intermolecular interaction due to van der Walls forces between the long chains of ODT SAM which results in highly stable ultrathin hydrocarbon layers without long term degradation. © 2013 SPIE.