Advances in wide-band gap semi-conductor based photocathode devices for low light level applications

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20 Scopus citations


The basic requirement for a imaging low-light level system (one capable of single photon counting) is that the device has low dark current. Photocathode based devices have the advantage over solid state devices in this regard as the dark current is inherently low. A further requirement for UV detectors is the necessity to suppress the sensitivity in the red, and wide-band gap semi-conductors fill this role well. For nitride based semi-conductors, there is still the issue of making p-type material and making alloys with Al or In to move the red cutoff to the blue (Al) or red (In). Regardless of the material (e.g. another choice is diamond) coupling the resulting photocathode to a device such as a micro-channel plate (MCP) is necessary to produce imaging. Based on advances we have made both in the production of p-type GaN photocathodes, diamond photocathodes, and read-outs of Si MCPs, we are on the verge of making high quality UV imaging systems for astronomy and other low-light level applications. In this paper we will review the progress that has been made over the past few years and provide an update with recent results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 22 2002


  • GaN
  • Photocathode
  • UV astronomy
  • Wide band-gap semi-conductor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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