Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Thomas F. Boggess
Optoelectronic devices operating in the mid-wave (3-5 Μm) and long-wave (8-12 Μm) infrared (IR) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are of a great interest for academic and industrial applications. Due to the lack of atmospheric absorption, devices operating within these spectral bands are particularly useful for spectroscopy, imaging, and dynamic scene projection. Advanced IR imaging systems have created an intense need for laboratory-based infrared scene projector (IRSP) systems which can be used for accurate simulation of real-world phenomena occurring in the IR. These IRSP systems allow for reliable, reproducible, safe, and cost-effective calibration of IR detector arrays. The current state-of-the-art technology utilized for the emitter source of IRSP systems is thermal pixel arrays (TPAs) which are based on thin film resistor technology. Thermal pixel array technology has fundamental limitations related to response time and maximum simulated apparent temperature, making them unsuitable for emulation of very hot (> 700 K) and rapidly evolving scenes.
Additionally, there exists a need for dual wavelength emitter arrays for IRSP systems dedicated to calibration of dual wavelength detector arrays. This need is currently met by combining the spectral output from two separate IRSP systems. This configuration requires precise alignment of the output from both systems and results in the maximum radiance being limited to approximately half that of the capability of a given emitter array due to the optics used to combine the outputs.
The high switching speed inherent to IR light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and the potential for high power output makes them an appealing candidate to replace the thermal pixel arrays used for IRSP systems. To this end, research has been carried out to develop and improve the device performance of IR LEDs based on InAs/GaSb type-II superlattices (T2SLs). A common method employed to achieve high brightness from LEDs is to incorporate multiple active regions, coupled by tunnel junctions. Tunnel junctions must provide adequate barriers to prevent carrier leakage, while at the same time remain low in tunneling resistance to prevent unwanted heating. The performance of two tunnel junction designs are compared in otherwise identical four stage InAs/GaSb superlattice LED (SLED) devices for application in IRSP systems.
This research culminated in the development of a 48 Μm pitch, 512$times512 individually addressable mid-wave IR LED array based on a sixteen stage, InAs/GaSb T2SL device design. This array was hybridized to a read-in integrated circuit and exhibited a pixel yield greater than 95 %. Projections based on single element emitter results predict this array will be able to achieve a peak apparent temperature of 1350 K within the entire 3-5 Μm band. These results demonstrate the feasibility of emitter arrays intended for IRSP systems based on InAs/GaSb SLED devices.
Additionally, a dual wavelength 48 Μm pitch, 8x8 emitter array based on InAs/GaSb T2SL LEDs was developed and demonstrated. This design incorporates two separate, 16 stage InAs/GaSb SL active regions with varying InAs layer thicknesses built into a single vertical heterostructure. The device architecture is a three terminal device allowing for independent control of the intensity of each emission region. Each emitter region creates a contiguous pixel, capable of being planarized and mated to drive electronics.
Copyright 2013 Dennis Thomas Norton