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Hamamatsu mass produces InAs-GaSb mid-IR detector

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Hamamatsu Photonics has mass-produced a mid-infrared detector that doesn’t use hazardous substances restricted under the European Commission’s RoHS directive.

The compound opto-semiconductor is made up of 2,000 thin-film layers of InAs and GaSb, alternately laminated onto a substrate.

The detector is able to sense mid-infrared light at a wavelength of 14.3μm without using mercury and cadmium, common materials used for mid-infrared detectors but which are now restricted substances under the RoHS directive.

Hamamatsu said its new product will be ideal for analytical instruments such as FT-IR spectrophotometers, which rely on mid-infrared light to identify substances contained in the air, foods, and drugs. The new product can also replace existing mid-infrared detectors commonly used in gas component analysers and infrared thermometers.

Opto-semiconductors made of silicon are widely used for detecting visible light. Compound opto-semiconductors composed of two or more semiconductor materials are used to detect mid-infrared light with wavelengths longer than the visible light range. However, these compound opto-semiconductor structures are difficult to mass-produce.

Hamamatsu claims it is the first company to mass produce this type-II superlattice infrared detector. Its manufacturing technology is able to alternately laminate InAs and GaSb thin films with uniform thickness and high repeatability.

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