This article reviews the history, the present status and possible future developments of HgCdTe ternary alloy for infrared (IR) detector applications. HgCdTe IR detectors have been intensively developed since the first synthesis of this material in 1958. This article summarizes the fundamental properties of this versatile narrow gap semiconductor, and relates the material properties to its successful applications as an IR photoconductive and photovoltaic detector material. An emphasis is put on key developments in the crystal growth and their influence on device evolution. Competitive technologies to HgCdTe ternary alloy are also presented.
Recent advances of backside illuminated HgCdTe heterojunction photodiodes have enabled a third generation of multispectral instruments for remote sensing applications and have led to the practicality of multiband IR focal plane array technology. Finally, evaluation of HgCdTe for room temperature long wavelength IR applications is presented.
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