Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

A G Unil Perera

Second Advisor

Vadym Apalkov

Third Advisor

Douglas R. Gies

Fourth Advisor

Alexander Kozhanov

Fifth Advisor

Ramesh Mani

Sixth Advisor

Brian D. Thoms

Seventh Advisor

Kirthi Tennakone


The work presented here report findings in (1) infrared detectors based on p-GaAs/AlGaAs heterojunctions, (2) J and H aggregate sensitized heterojunctions for solar cell and photon detection applications, (3) heterojunctions sensitized with quantum dots as low cost solar energy conversion devices and near infrared photodetectors.

(1)A GaAs/AlGaAs based structure with a graded AlGaAs barrier is found to demonstrate a photovoltaic responsivity of ~ 30mA/W (~ 450mV/W) at the wavelength of 1.8 mm at 300K. Additionally the graded barrier has enhanced the photoconductive response at 78 K, showing a responsivity of ~ 80mA/W with a D*=1.4×108 Jones under 1V bias at 2.7 mm wavelength. This is an approximately 25 times improvement compared to the flat barrier detector structure, probably due to the improved carrier transport, and low recapture rate in the graded barrier structure. However, these graded barrier devices did not indicate a photoresponse with photoconductive mode at 300K due to high shot noise. Additionally, two generation-recombination noise components and a 1/f noise component were identified.

A series of GaAs/AlGaAs multilayer hetero-junction structures were tested as thermal detectors. A superlattice structure containing 57% Al fraction in the barrier and 3 × 1018 cm-3 p-doped GaAs emitter showed the highest responsivity as a thermal detector with a TCR of ~ 4% K-1, at 300K.

(2)The photovoltaic properties of heterojunctions with J-/ H- aggregated dye films sandwiched between n– and p-type semiconductors were investigated for potential application as solar cells and IR detectors. Films of cationic dye Rhodamine-B-thiocyanate adsorbed on Cu2O substrate are found to form organized dye layers by self-assembled J- aggregation, resulting in large red-shifts in the photo -response. Additionally, cells sensitized with a pentamethine cyanine dye exhibited a broad spectral response originating from J- and H-aggregates. The photocurrent is produced by exciton transport over relatively long distances with significant hole-mobility as well as direct sensitized injection at the first interface.

(3) A ZnO/PbS-QD/Dye heterostructure had enhanced efficiency compared to ZnO/Dye heterostructure as a solar cell. Furthermore, a ZnO/PbS-QD structure has demonstrated UV and NIR responses with 4×105V/W (390 nm) and 5.5×105 V/W (750 nm) under 1V bias at 300K.