We discuss effects that arise in pixels of IR focal plane arrays (FPAs) when pixel size scales down to approach the wavelength of the incident radiation. To study these effects, we perform first-principles electromagnetic simulations of pixel structures based on a mercury–cadmium–telluride photoconductor for use in FPAs. Specifically, we calculate the pixel quantum efficiency and crosstalk as pixel size scales from 16 μm, which is in the range of current detectors, down to 0.75 μm, corresponding to subwavelength detectors. Our numerical results indicate the possibility of wavelength-size () and even subwavelength-size () pixels for IR FPAs. In addition, we explore opportunities that emerge for controlling light with subwavelength structures inside FPA pixels. As an illustration, we find that the low-pass filtering effect of a metal film aperture can exemplify the impact and the possible role that wavelength-scale optics plays in very small pixels.
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