Surface passivation of cadmium zinc telluride radiation detectors by potassium hydroxide solution

Authors: Chattopadhyay, Kaushik; Hayes, Miguel; Ndap, Jean-Olivier; Burger, Arnold; Lu, W.; McWhinney, Hylton; Grady, Tony; James, Ralph

Source: Journal of Electronic Materials, Volume 29, Number 6, June 2000 , pp. 708-712(5)

Publisher: Springer

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The spectral resolution of cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) room temperature nuclear radiation detectors is often limited by the presence of conducting surface species that increase the surface leakage current. Surface passivation plays an important role in reducing this surface leakage current and thereby decreasing the noise of the detectors and improving the spectral energy resolution. Chemical etching with a Br-MeOH solution leaves CZT surfaces rich in Te and is considered as one of the primary causes of the increased surface leakage current. Previous studies have shown that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) forms oxides of tellurium on the CZT surface and thus acts as a good passivating agent. In this study we will present results on the use of potassium hydroxide (KOH) as an alternative passivating agent. The KOH aqueous solution leaves a more stoichiometric (evaluated from the trends in the surface Cd:Te ratio) and smoother CZT surface. The passivation effects of KOH solution on the surface of the CZT have been characterized by current-voltage measurements for different KOH concentrations and etching times for both parallel strip electrodes as well as a metal-semiconductor-metal configuration. The surface chemical composition and its morphology were studied by scanning x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. The comparison and demonstration of improvements in the spectral resolution of the CZT detectors (based on 241Am spectra) with and without the KOH treatment are presented.

Keywords: CZT; Gamma-ray detector; KOH; etching; radiation sensor; surface passivation; surface treatment

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: June 1, 2000

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