Low cost short wavelength infrared (SWIR) photovoltaic (PV) detectors and solar cells are of very great interest, yet the main production technology today is based on costly epitaxial growth of InGaAs layers. In this study, layers of p-type, quantum confined (QC) PbS nano-domains (NDs) structure that were engineered to absorb SWIR light at 1550 nm (Eg = 0.8 eV) were fabricated from solution using the chemical bath deposition (CBD) technique. The layers were grown on top of two different n-type CdS intermediate layers (Eg = 2.4 eV) using two different CBD protocols on fluoride tin oxide (FTO) substrates. Two types of CdS/PbS heterojunction were obtained to serve as SWIR PV detectors. The two resulting devices showed similar photoluminescence behavior, but a profoundly different electrical response to SWIR illumination. One type of CdS/PbS heterojunction exhibited a PV response to SWIR light, while the other demonstrated a photo-response to SWIR light only under an applied bias. To clarify this intriguing phenomenon, and since the only difference between the two heterojunctions could be the doping level of the CdS layer, we measured the doping level of this layer by means of the surface photo voltage (SPV). This yielded different polarizations for the two devices, indicating different doping levels of the CdS for the two different fabrication protocols, which was also confirmed by Hall Effect measurements. We performed current voltage measurements under super bandgap illumination, with respect to CdS, and got an electrical response indicating a barrier free for holes transfer from the CdS to the PbS. The results indicate that the different response does, indeed, originate from variations in the band structures at the interface of the CdS/PbS heterojunction due to the different doping levels of the CdS. We found that, unlike solar cells or visible light detectors having similar structure, in SWIR photodetectors, a type I heterojunction is formed having a barrier at the interface that limits the injection of the photo-exited electrons from the QC-PbS to the CdS side. Higher n-doped CdS generates a narrow depletion region on the CdS side, with a spike like barrier that is narrow enough to enable tunneling current, leading to a PV current. Our results show that an external quantum efficiency (EQE) of ∼2% and an internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of ∼20% can be obtained, at zero bias, for CBD grown SWIR sensitive CdS/PbS-NDs heterojunctions.
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