We have studied the sensitivity of AlGaAs/GaAs double barrier resonant tunneling diode photodetectors with an integrated GaInNAs absorption layer for light sensing at the telecommunication wavelength of λ=1.3 µm for illumination powers from pico to micro Watts. The sensitivity decreases nonlinearly with power. An illumination power increase of seven orders of magnitude leads to a reduction of the photocurrent sensitivity from SI =5.82 × 103 A/W to 3.2 A/W. We attribute the nonlinear sensitivity-power dependence to an altered local electrostatic potential due to hole-accumulation that on the one hand tunes the tunneling current, but on the other hand affects the lifetime of photogenerated holes. In particular, the lifetime decreases exponentially with increasing hole-population. The lifetime reduction results from an enhanced electrical field, a rise of the quasi-Fermi level and an increased energy splitting within the triangular potential well. The non-constant sensitivity is a direct result of the non-constant lifetime. Based on these findings, we provide an expression that allows to calculate the sensitivity as a function of illumination power and bias voltage, show a way to model the time-resolved photocurrent, and determine the critical power up to which the resonant tunneling diode photosensor sensitivity can be assumed constant.
- Resonant tunneling diode