The effect of rapid thermal annealing (RTA) on important detector characteristics such as dark current, absolute response, noise, and detectivity is investigated for quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIP) operating in the 8-12 μm wavelength regime. A comprehensive set of experiments is conducted on QWIPs fabricated from both as-grown and annealed multiple-quantum-well structures. RTA is done at an anneal temperature of 850°C for 30 s using an SiO2 encapsulant. In general, a decrease in performance is observed for RTA QWIPs when compared to the as-grown detectors. The peak absolute response of the annealed QWIPs is lower by almost a factor of four, which results in a factor of four decrease in quantum efficiency. In addition, a degraded noise performance results in a detectivity which is five times lower than that of QWIPs using asgrown structures. Theoretical calculations of the absorption coefficient spectrum are in excellent agreement with the experimental data.
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