High-speed metamorphic double heterojunction photodiodes were fabricated on GaAs substrates for long-wavelength optical fiber communications. The high quality linearly graded quaternary InGaAlAs metamorphic buffer layer made possible the growth of excellent InGaAs-InGaAlAs-InAlAs heterostructures on GaAs substrates. The use of a novel double heterostructure employing an InGaAlAs optical impedance matching layer, a chirped InGaAs-InAlAs superlattice graded bandgap layer (SL-GBL), and a large bandgap I-InAlAs drift region enabled photodiodes to achieve a low dark current of 500pA, a responsivity of 0.6 A/W, and a -3 dB bandwidth of 38 GHz at -5 V reverse bias for 1.55 µm light. The effect of accumulated charges at the InGaAs-InAlAs heterointerface was examined through a comparison of the dark currents of InGaAs-InAlAs and InGaAs-InP abrupt single heterojunction photodiodes to photodiodes with chirped InGaAs-InAlAs SL-GBLs. The charge accumulation effects observed in abrupt heterojunction devices were suppressed by including a chirped InGaAs-InAlAs SL-GBL between the InGaAs absorption layer and InAlAs drift layer. The effect of passivation techniques was evaluated by comparing dark currents of unpassivated photodiodes and photodiodes passivated with either polyimide or SiNx. The enhancement of photodiode bandwidth through the inclusion of a transparent large bandgap I-InAlAs drift region was verified by comparing the bandwidths of the P-i-I-N photodiodes that have I-InAlAs between i-InGaAs photoabsorption layer and N+ InAlAs cathode to conventional P-i-N photodiodes without a drift region.
Jae-Hyung Jang, Gabriel Cueva, William E. Hoke, P. J. Lemonias, Patrick Fay, and Ilesanmi Adesida, "Metamorphic Graded Bandgap InGaAs-InGaAlAs-InAlAs Double Heterojunction P-i-I-N Photodiodes," J. Lightwave Technol. 20, 507- (2002)