Hemts, thz detectors, plasmonic


Plasmons can be generated in the two dimensional electron gas (2DEG) of grating-gated high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs). The grating-gate serves dual purposes, namely to provide the required wavevector to compensate for the momentum mismatch between the free-space radiation and 2D-plasmons, and to tune the 2DEG sheet charge density. Since the plasmon frequency at a given wavevector depends on the sheet charge density, a gate bias can shift the plasmon resonance. In some cases, plasmon generation results in a resonant change in channel conductance which allows a properly designed grating-gated HEMT to be used as a voltage-tunable resonant detector or filter. Such devices may find applications as chip-scale tunable detectors in airborne multispectral detection and target tracking. Reported here are investigations of InGaAs/InP-based HEMT devices for potential tunable resonant sub-THz and THz detectors. The HEMTs were fabricated from a commercial double-quantum well HEMT wafer by depositing source, drain, and semi-transparent gate contacts using standard photolithography processes. Devices were fabricated with metalized transmission gratings with multiple periods and duty cycles. For sub-THz devices, grating period and duty cycle were chosen to be 9 ?m and 22%, respectively; while they were chosen to be 0.5 ?m and 80% for the THz device. The gratings were fabricated on top of the gate region with dimensions of 250 ?m x 195 ?m. The resonant photoresponse of the larger grating-period HEMT was investigated in the sub-THz frequency range of around 100 GHz. The free space radiation was generated by an ultra-stable Backward Wave Oscillator (BWO) and utilized in either frequency modulation (FM), or amplitude modulation (AM) experiments. The photoresponse was measured at 4K sample temperature as the voltage drop across a load resistor connected to the drain while constant source-drain voltages of different values, VSD, were applied. The dependence of such optoelectrical effect to polarization of the incident light, and applied VSD is studied. The results of AM and FM measurements are compared and found to be in agreement with the calculations of the 2D-plasmon absorption theory, however, a nonlinear behavior is observed in the amplitude and the line-shape of the photoresponse for AM experiments. For detection application, the minimum noise-equivalent-power (NEP) of the detector was determined to be 235 and 113 pW/Hz1/2 for FM and AM experiments, respectively. The maximum responsivity of the detector was also estimated to be ~ 200 V/W for the two experiments. The far-IR transmission spectra of the device with nanometer scale period was measured at 4 K sample temperature for different applied gate voltages to investigate the excitation of 2D-plasmon modes. Such plasmon resonances were observed, but their gate bias dependence agreed poorly with expectations.


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Graduation Date





Peale, Robert


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

August 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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Physics Commons