Tunneling Barrier Engineering: High Speed Diode Optimization for Next Generation Focal Plane Arrays

Period of Performance: 08/14/2002 - 02/14/2003


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

ITN Energy Systems, Inc.
8130 Shaffer Parkway Array
Littleton, CO 80127
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Colorado Boulder
572 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Institution POC


ITN Energy Systems, Inc. proposes to develop its direct conversion device (DCD) consisting of a high speed diode coupled to the feedpoints of a microantenna, to address the BMDOs need for next generation IR focal plane arrays and sensor suites. ITN believes that by replacing existing detector technologies (bolometers and photodiodes) with its DCD, we can achieve greater sensitivity, greater bandwidth, and reduced cost. The key to the antenna based detector is the high-speed diode monolithically integrated into the antenna array. The commercialization of this exciting technology is limited by unifor and reliable fabrication of the high speed tunneling diode. ITN proposes to use advanced processing techniques to create an engineered diode barrier with improved uniformity and reproducibility and increased stability in performance. ITN's antenna based approach to high frequency detection (>THz) provides a versatile approach to sensing/imaging applications from the RF to Optical portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Using an advanced high frequency diode, ITN's technology provides superior bandwidth, increased sensitivity, target tracking, and decreased cost, compared to other state-of-the-art detectors (e.g. bolometers, photodiodes). A natural application of ITN's detector technology is uncooled IR detection where ITN's technology will serve as the detector in a focal plane array. Current application are both government and commercial including surveillance, night vision, mobile targeting, and direction finding.