Low Light, Short Wave Infrared, Solid State Photodetector
Navy SBIR 2011.1 - Topic N111-032
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - firstname.lastname@example.org
Opens: December 13, 2010 - Closes: January 12, 2011
N111-032 TITLE: Low Light, Short Wave Infrared, Solid State Photodetector
TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors, Electronics
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Sea Shield, Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), ACAT II
RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted." The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.
OBJECTIVE: To develop a low light capable solid state photodetector with low excess noise, very high gain, and a large dynamic range (single to multi-photon) up to a cut-off wavelength of 2.2 microns.
DESCRIPTION: Conventional short wave infrared (SWIR) solid state detectors are incapable of low light level performance because they have little to no gain, high dark currents, and noise limitations. Existing SWIR photocathode tubes can detect low light levels, but are bulky in size and weight, expensive, require very high operating voltages, and are difficult to implement in multi-element array formats. Recent developments in solid state photodetectors, such as discrete amplification and negative feedback avalanche processes, demonstrate low light level detection of visible, near infrared, and SWIR wavelengths at or near room temperature. These devices are compact, energy efficient, and are amenable to low cost wafer manufacturing and processing. However, these solid state photodetectors do not permit low light level detection of wavelengths exceeding 1.7 microns. This topic seeks to develop a low cost, low operating voltage (<70 V), uncooled or minimally cooled, solid state photodetector operating with low excess noise (<1.1), low dark current, very high gain (>1E5), high detection efficiency, and up to a cutoff wavelength of 2.2 microns. The technology should show a clear path to a compact, low voltage, solid state detector which can be integrated into a multi-element array format.
PHASE I: Demonstrate the technical feasibility of the proposed approach through design, simulation, and analysis. The proposed design shall be optimized for a cutoff wavelength of 2.2 microns, high gain, low noise, low light level detection (single to multi-photon detection capability), low operating voltage, and high detection efficiency. Test samples or experimental runs which demonstrate these requirements are highly desirable in the Phase I effort.
PHASE II: Using the results of the Phase I effort, design, develop, demonstrate and deliver a solid state detector which meets the aforementioned requirements. Demonstrate a clear path to develop an integrated multi-element array using these detectors.
PHASE III: Enable mass production so that unit cost is reduced. Design, development, and delivery of a multi-element linear or two dimensional array is encouraged.
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: The commercialization of this technology is expected to provide low cost, high performance, low light level, SWIR detectors in: Florescence detection, spectroscopy, medical imaging, laser detection and ranging, homeland security, and free-space optical communication.
(2) J. Christopher Dries, Milind R. Gokhale, and Stephen R. Forrest, "A 2.0 micron cutoff wavelength separate absorption, charge, and multiplication layer avalanche photodiode using strain-compensated InGaAs quantum wells," Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 74, No. 18, pp. 2581-2583, 3 May 1999
(3) Michael MacDougal, Jonathan Geske, and John E. Bowers, "InGaAsSbN photodiode arrays," U.S. Patent Application No. 12/254,634, Publication No. 20100096665A1, 22 April 2010
KEYWORDS: solid state; detector; extended wavelength; SWIR; low light; low noise