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  1. Photodetection spanning the short-, mid-, and long-wave infrared (SWIR-LWIR) underpins modern science and technology. Devices using state-of-the-art narrow bandgap semiconductors require complex manufacturing, high costs, and cooling requirements that remain prohibitive for many applications. We report high-performance infrared photodetection from a donor-acceptor conjugated polymer with broadband SWIR-LWIR operation. Electronic correlations within the π-conjugated backbone promote a high-spin ground state, narrow bandgap, long-wavelength absorption, and intrinsic electrical conductivity. These previously unobserved attributes enabled the fabrication of a thin-film photoconductive detector from solution, which demonstrates specific detectivities greater than 2.10 × 10 9 Jones. These room temperature detectivities closely approach those of cooled epitaxial devices. This work provides a fundamentally new platform for broadly applicable, low-cost, ambient temperature infrared optoelectronics.
  2. Emerging infrared photodetectors have reported a high level of gain using trap-assisted photomultiplication mechanisms enabling significant enhancements in their sensitivity. This work investigates a series of interfacial materials in order to understand how charge blocking layers facilitate trap-assisted photomultiplication in organic shortwave infrared detectors. The hole blocking layers induce accumulation of photogenerated holes at the interface, which in turn lowers the electron injection barrier and enables photomultiplication. In addition to examining photoresponse characteristics, the device dark current is analyzed by fitting to a charge injection model to quantify injection barriers. This demonstrates that the electric field induced barrier lowering effect plateaus with increasing applied bias. Among the interfaces studied, the best detectivity is observed using the hole blocking layer bathophenanthroline (Bphen), which reduces the probability of recombination and extends the lifetime of trapped holes to increase photomultiplication. This leads to a responsivity of 5.6 A W −1 (equivalent external quantum efficiency = 660% at 1050 nm) and detectivity of 10 9 Jones with broadband operation from 600 nm to 1400 nm.
  3. Abstract

    To achieve high detectivity in infrared detectors, it is critical to reduce the device noise. However, for non-crystalline semiconductors, an essential framework is missing to understand and predict the effects of disorder on the dark current. This report presents experimental and modeling studies on the noise current in exemplar organic bulk heterojunction photodiodes, with 10 donor–acceptor combinations spanning wavelength between 800 and 1600 nm. A significant reduction of the noise and higher detectivity were found in devices using non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs) in comparison to those using fullerene derivatives. The low noise in NFA blends was attributed to a sharp drop off in the distribution of bandtail states, as revealed by variable-temperature density-of-states measurements. Taking disorder into account, we developed a general physical model to explain the dependence of thermal noise on the effective bandgap and bandtail spread. The model provides theoretical targets for the maximum detectivity that can be obtained at different detection wavelengths in inherently disordered infrared photodiodes.