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Enhanced light absorption in thin silicon photodetectors with photon-trapping structures

Enhanced light absorption in thin silicon photodetectors with photon-trapping structures

Posted Date: 2023-07-27
Enhanced light absorption in thin silicon photodetectors with photon-trapping structures
Photon-trapping micro- and nano-sized holes in silicon (Si) make usually incident gentle bend by virtually 90°, making it propagate laterally alongside the airplane and main consequently to elevated gentle absorption within the NIR band. Credit score: Qarony, Mayet, et al., doi 10.1117/1.APN.2.5.056001.

Photonic methods are shortly gaining traction in lots of rising functions, together with optical communications, lidar sensing, and medical imaging. Nevertheless, the widespread adoption of photonics in future engineering options hinges on the price of manufacturing photodetectors, which, in flip, largely is determined by the sort of semiconductor utilized for the aim.

Historically, silicon (Si) has been probably the most prevalent semiconductor within the electronics trade, a lot in order that many of the trade has matured round this materials. Sadly, Si has a comparatively weak gentle absorption coefficient within the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum in comparison with these of different semiconductors resembling gallium arsenide (GaAs).

Due to this, GaAs and associated alloys thrive in photonic functions, however are incompatible with the standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processes used within the manufacturing of most electronics. This results in a drastic improve of their manufacturing prices.

To handle this downside, a analysis crew from UC Davis in California is pioneering a brand new technique to enormously enhance the sunshine absorption of skinny Si movies. Of their newest paper revealed in Superior Photonics Nexus, they current the primary experimental demonstration of Si-based photodetectors with light-trapping micro- and nano-surface buildings, attaining unprecedented efficiency positive aspects that rival that of GaAs and different group III-V semiconductors.

The proposed photodetectors encompass a micrometer-thick cylindrical Si slab positioned over an insulating substrate, with metallic “fingers” extending from the contact metals atop the slab in an interdigitated style. Importantly, the majority Si is stuffed with round holes organized in a periodic sample that act as photon-trapping websites. The general construction of the machine causes usually incident gentle to bend by virtually 90° upon hitting the floor, making it journey laterally alongside the Si airplane.

These laterally propagating modes improve the propagation size of sunshine and successfully gradual it down, resulting in extra gentle–matter interplay and a consequent improve in absorption.

The researchers moreover carried out optical simulations and theoretical analyses to higher perceive the consequences of the photon-trapping buildings, and carried out a number of experiments evaluating photodetectors with and with out them. They discovered that photon trapping led to a exceptional improve within the absorption effectivity over a large band within the NIR spectrum, staying above 68% and peaking at 86%.

Notably, the noticed absorption coefficient of the photon-trapping photodetector was a number of instances increased than that of plain Si and exceeded that of GaAs within the NIR band. Moreover, though the proposed design was for a 1-μm-thick Si slab, simulations of 30- and 100-nm Si skinny movies suitable with CMOS electronics confirmed a equally enhanced efficiency.

Total, the findings of this examine display a promising technique to spice up the efficiency of Si-based photodetectors for rising photonics functions. By attaining excessive absorption even in ultrathin Si layers, the parasitic capacitance of the circuit may be stored low, which is essential in high-speed methods.

Furthermore, the proposed method is suitable with trendy CMOS manufacturing processes, and might thus doubtlessly revolutionize the best way by which optoelectronics are built-in into standard circuits. In flip, this might pave the best way for inexpensive ultrafast pc networks and substantial leaps in imaging expertise.

Offered by SPIE