Progress in the fabrication of GaN photo-cathodes

M. P. Ulmer, B. W. Wessels, F. Shahedipour, R. Y. Korotkov, C. Joseph, T. Nihashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Currently, photo-cathodes hold the highest promise in the near term (next few years) of being able to detect low light level UV signals at high QE while being nearly blind to visible wavelengths. We briefly discuss the requirements for UV detection for astronomical applications, and then we describe our work on producing GaN based photo-cathodes. The p-type GaN films were grown on sapphire at Northwestern University. The films were then converted into opaque photo-cathodes inside photo-tubes at Hamamatsu. Hamamatsu tested detective quantum efficiencies (DQE) of these detectors to be as high as 30% at 200 nm. The ratio of peak DQE at 200 nm to the minimum DQE at 500 nm was measured to be about 6 × 103. We found a dramatic increase in the DQE at 200 nm versus the conductivity, with the break point being near 0.13 1/(Ohm-cm). Based on this dramatic increase, we believe that further improvement in photo-cathode quantum efficiencies can be achieved by increasing the conductivity. We have recently achieved more than an order of magnitude increase in conductivity by co-doping techniques. Improvements in the solar blindness of the devices depend both on characteristics of the film and its surface properties. A detailed discussion of decreasing the visible response and producing a sharper wave-length cutoff is beyond the scope of this work, but we briefly discuss the attributes that most likely affect the wavelength dependence of the photo-cathode response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2001


  • Co-doping
  • Photo-cathode
  • UV
  • Visible-blind

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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