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EE 230: Optical Fiber Communication Lecture 11

Detectors

From the movie


Warriors of the Net

Detector Technologies
Layer Structure

Features

MSM

Semiinsulating GaAs

Simple, Planar,
Low Capacitance
Low Quantum Efficiency

PIN

Contact
Absorption
Contact

Trade-off Between
Quantum efficiency
and Speed

(Metal Semiconductor Metal)

InGaAsP p 5x1018
InGaAs n- 5x1014
InP
n 1x1019

Contact
Multiplication
Transition
Absorption
Contact
Substrate

APD

Waveguide

InP
InP
InGaAsP
InGaAs
InP
InP

Gain-Bandwidth:
p 1x1018
16
120GHz
n 5x10
Low Noise
n 1x1016
Difficult to make
n 5x1014
18
Complex
n 1x10
Semi insulating

Absorption Layer
Guide Layers

Key:

Absorption Layer
Contact layers

High efficiency
High speed
Difficult to couple into

Photo Detection Principles

Device Layer Structure

Bias voltage usually needed


to fully deplete the intrinsic I
region for high speed
operation

Band Diagram
showing carrier
movement in E-field

Light intensity as a
function of distance below
the surface

Carriers absorbed here must


diffuse to the intrinsic layer
before they recombine if they are
to contribute to the photocurrent.
Slow diffusion can lead to slow
tails in the temporal response.

(Hitachi Opto Data Book)

Current-Voltage Characteristic for a


Photodiode

Characteristics of Photodetectors

Number of Collected electrons


1 e W
Number of Photons *Entering* detector

External
Quantum efficiency

i /q
Number of Collected electrons
ph
1 Rp 1 e W
Number of Photons *Incident* on detector Po / h

Responsivity

i
Photo Current (Amps)
q
ph
1 Rp 1 eW
Incident Optical Power (Watts) Po h

Internal
Quantum Efficiency

Fraction Transmitted
into Detector

Photocurrent

i ph

Po
W
1 Rp 1 e
h

Incident Photon Flux


(#/sec)

RPo

Fraction absorbed in
detection region

Responsivity
Output current per unit incident light
power; typically 0.5 A/W

e
R
M
h

Photodiode Responsivity

Detector Sensitivity vs. Wavelength

Absorption coefficient vs. Wavelength


for several materials
(Bowers 1987)

Photodiode Responsivity vs. Wavelength


for various materials
(Albrecht et al 1986)

PIN photodiodes

Energy-band diagram

p-n junction

Electrical Circuit

Basic PIN Photodiode Structure

Rear Illuminated Photodiode

Front Illuminated Photodiode

PIN Diode Structures

Diffused Type
(Makiuchi et al. 1990)

Diffused Type
(Dupis et al 1986)

Etched Mesa Structure


(Wey et al. 1991)

Diffused structures tend to have lower dark current than mesa etched structures although they are
more difficult to integrate with electronic devices because an additional high temperature processing
step is required.

Avalanche Photodiodes (APDs)


High resistivity p-doped layer increases
electric field across absorbing region
High-energy electron-hole pairs ionize
other sites to multiply the current
Leads to greater sensitivity

APD Detectors
q
P
h

Signal Current i s M

APD Structure and field distribution (Albrecht 1986)

APDs Continued

Detector Equivalent Circuits


Rd
Iph

Id

Cd
PIN
Rd

Iph

Id

Cd

In
APD

Iph=Photocurrent generated by detector


Cd=Detector Capacitance
Id=Dark Current
In=Multiplied noise current in APD
Rd=Bulk and contact resistance

MSM Detectors
Light

Schottky barrier
gate metal

Simple to fabricate
Quantum efficiency: Medium
Problem: Shadowing of absorption
region by contacts

Semi insulating GaAs


Simplest Version

Capacitance: Low
Bandwidth: High
Can be increased by thinning absorption layer and
backing with a non absorbing material. Electrodes
must be moved closer to reduce transit time.
Compatible with standard electronic processes
GaAs FETS and HEMTs
InGaAs/InAlAs/InP HEMTs

To increase speed
decrease electrode spacing
and absorption depth

Absorption
layer

Non absorbing substrate

E Field
penetrates for
~ electrode spacing
into material

Waveguide Photodetectors

Waveguide detectors are suited for very high bandwidth applications


Overcomes low absorption limitations
Eliminates carrier generation in field free regions
Decouples transit time from quantum efficiency
Low capacitance
More difficult optical coupling

(Bowers IEEE 1987)

Carrier transit time


Transit time is a function of depletion
width and carrier drift velocity
td= w/vd

Detector Capacitance
xp

xn

Capacitance must be minimized for high


sensitivity (low noise) and for high speed
operation
Minimize by using the smallest light collecting
area consistent with efficient collection of the
incident light

A
W

Minimize by putting low doped I region


between the P and N doped regions to
increase W, the depletion width

p-n junction
w xp xn

W can be increased until field required to fully


deplete causes excessive dark current, or
carrier transit time begins to limit speed.

For a uniformly doped junction


1/ 2
A 2q

C
Nd
2 Vo Vbi

2(Vo Vbi )
W

qNd

1/ 2

Where:

=permitivityq=electroncharge

Nd=Activedopantdensity
Vo=AppliedvoltageVbi=Builtinpotential
A=Junctionarea

Bandwidth limit
C=0K A/w
where K is dielectric constant, A is area, w
is depletion width, and 0 is the
permittivity of free space (8.85 pF/m)
B = 1/2RC

PIN Bandwidth and Efficiency Tradeoff


Transit time
=W/vsat
vsat=saturation velocity=2x107 cm/s
R-C Limitation
A
RC Rin
W
Responsivity
q
R
1 Rp 1 e W
h

Diffusion
=4 ns/m (slow)

Dark Current
Surface Leakage
Bulk Leakage
Surface Leakage

Bulk Leakage

Ohmic Conduction

Diffusion

Generation-recombination
via surface states

Generation-Recombination
Tunneling

Usually not a significant noise source at high bandwidths for PIN Structures
High dark current can indicate poor potential reliability
In APDs its multiplication can be significant

Signal to Noise Ratio


i p2 M 2

2
N 2q I p I D M F M B 2qI L B 4k BTB / RL
ip= average signal photocurrent level
based on modulation index m where

2
p

2 2
p

m I
2

Optimum value of M

x2
opt

2qI L 4k BT / RL

xq I p I D

where F(M) = Mx and m=1

Noise Equivalent Power (NEP)


Signal power where S/N=1
Units are W/Hz1/2

h
NEP
e

4kT
2eI D M 2
M RL
x

Typical Characteristics of P-I-N and


Avalanche photodiodes

Comparisons
PIN gives higher bandwidth and bit rate
APD gives higher sensitivity
Si works only up to 1100 nm; InGaAs up
to 1700, Ge up to 1800
InGaAs has higher for PIN, but Ge
has higher M for APD
InGaAs has lower dark current