Avalanche photomultiplication in the far infrared

Brown, Fielding; Parker, David R.; Heyman, James; Newbury, Nathan
December 1986
Applied Physics Letters;12/1/1986, Vol. 49 Issue 22, p1548
Academic Journal
We identify a process of avalanche photomultiplication in n-germanium initiated by pulsed far-infrared radiation at λ=151 μm. The sample at 4 K is biased above breakdown so that electrons populate the conduction band and excited states of donors as well as the ground state. Primary photoexcitation between 1s(3) and 2p± states alters the dynamic equilibrium between impact ionization and recombination and leads to photomultiplication by a factor M>105. Signals as low as 10-11 W have been detected with system bandwidth 20 MHz and response time τ∼1 ns. The relationship between detector current response and incident power has the unusual form is∝P0.5.


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