Large format HgCdTe/CdTe/Silicon infrared focal plane arrays based on MBE technology

Period of Performance: 05/10/2000 - 11/09/2000

$65K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Smart Pixel, Inc.
590 Territorial Drive, Suite B
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The infrared technology has provided the theatrical superiority to U.S Defense. Intensive research and development efforts have led to the existence of a robust infrared focal plane array (IRFPA) technology for small and medium size formats. 256 x 256 IRFPAs are available for inclusion into military systems and 480 x 640 have been demonstrated. Ongoing production programs include JAVELIN, SADA II, JASSM, and AGM130. Large format IRFPA is a critical technology to enhance the resolution and range of detection to meet the U.S future security needs. HgCdTe IRFPAs with 1024 x 1024 elements have been identified as the candidate for the new generation of IRFPAs. The thermal mismatch between the CdZnTe and the readout circuit limits the extension to larger formats. An alternative technology is proposed here, the essence of which is the replacement of the exotic CdZnTe substrate with a readily available and inexpensive silicon (Si) substrate. We propose to exploit the recent advances in molecular beam epitaxially grown HgCdTe/CdTe/Si to produce large format (1024x1024), high resolution IRFPAs. No supplier, domestic or foreign, for mega pixel IRFPAs exists. Optimization of the proposed technology will lead to rugged, low cost, high density and high resolution IRFPAs with operability >99.9%. Large format focal plane arrays will find enormous applications in military, space and medical imaging areas for infrared imaging and low-background detection. It will be particularly suitable for military's intelligence, countermeasure operations and NASA's space based spectroscopic applications. HgCdTe based devices, with the advantage of small electron mass, high mobilities, large electron saturation velocities have considerable advantages for a variety of new micro-electronic and optoelectronic applications. SPI is fully committed to fabricate and commercialize infrared detectors and arrays if this program is successful. Smartpixel Inc will work closely with Northrop Grumman DS to integrate it into the systems.