III-Nitride based avalanche photo detectors

Ryan McClintock, Erdem Cicek, Zahra Vashaei, Can Bayram, Manijeh Razeghi, Melville P. Ulmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Research into III-Nitride based avalanche photodiodes (APDs) is motivated by the need for high sensitivity ultraviolet (UV) detectors in numerous civilian and military applications. By designing III-Nitride photodetectors that utilize low-noise impact ionization high internal gain can be realized - GaN APDs operating in Geiger mode can achieve gains exceeding 1×107. Thus with careful design, it becomes possible to count photons at the single photon level. In this paper we review the current state of the art in III-Nitride visible-blind APDs and discuss the critical design choices necessary to achieve high performance Geiger mode devices. Other major technical issues associated with the realization of visible-blind Geiger mode APDs are also discussed in detail and future prospects for improving upon the performance of these devices are outlined. The photon detection efficiency, dark count rate, and spectral response of or most recent Geiger-mode GaN APDs on free-standing GaN substrates are studied under low photon fluxes, with single photon detection capabilities being demonstrated. We also present our latest results regarding linear mode gain uniformity: the study of gain uniformity helps reveal the spatial origins of gain so that we can better understand the role of defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDetectors and Imaging Devices
Subtitle of host publicationInfrared, Focal Plane, Single Photon
StatePublished - Oct 25 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventDetectors and Imaging Devices: Infrared, Focal Plane, Single Photon - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 4 2010Aug 5 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherDetectors and Imaging Devices: Infrared, Focal Plane, Single Photon
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • APD
  • Avalanche photodiode
  • GaN
  • Geiger mode
  • Single photon detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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