Infrared detectors: Advances, challenges and new technologies

Karim, A., Y. Andersson, J.
Type of publication: 
Conference item

The history of human knowledge to infrared (IR) radiation is about 200 years old. However it was in the late 20th century when we have developed a wide range of smart technologies to detect it and started to take advantage of it for our benefits. Today the IR detector technology is at its 3rd generation with challenging demands on the performance. Based on the propagation of IR radiation through free space it is divided into different transmission windows. The most interesting for thermal imaging are the mid-wave IR (MWIR) and the long-wave IR (LWIR) range. Infrared detectors for thermal imaging have a number of applications in industry, security, search & rescue, surveillance, medicine, research, meteorology, climatology and astronomy. Currently the high-performance IR imaging technology is mainly based on epitaxially grown structures of the small-bandgap bulk alloy mercury-cadmium-telluride (MCT), indium antimonide (InSb) and GaAs based quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs), depending on the application and wavelength range. However, they operate at low temperatures requiring costly and bulky cryogenic systems. In addition there is always a need for better performance generating possibilities for developing new technologies for IR imaging. Some of the emerging technologies are quantum dot infrared photodetectors (QDIPs), type-II strained layer super-lattice, and QDIPs with type-II band alignment. In this report a brief review of the current and new technologies for high performance IR detectors, will be presented.

Published in: 
1st International Conference on Sensing for Industry, Control, Communications, & Security Technologies, Jun 24-26, Karachi, Pakistan