Abstract

Photoconductive PbSe thin films are highly important for mid-infrared imaging applications. However, the photoconductive mechanism is not well understood so far. Here we provide additional insight on the photoconductivity mechanism using transmission electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron microscopy, and electrical characterizations. Polycrystalline PbSe thin films were deposited by a chemical bath deposition method. Potassium iodide (KI) was added during the deposition process to improve the photoresponse. Oxidation and iodization were performed to sensitize the thin films. The temperature-dependence Hall effect results show that a strong hole–phonon interaction occurs in oxidized PbSe with KI. It indicates that about half the holes are trapped by KI-induced self-trapped hole centers (${V_k}$ center), which results in increasing dark resistance. The photo Hall effect results show that the hole concentration increases significantly under light exposure in sensitized PbSe, which indicates the photogenerated electrons are compensated by trapped holes. The presence of KI in the PbSe grains was confirmed by I ${3}{d_{5/2}}$ core-level x-ray photoelectron spectra. The energy dispersive x-ray spectra obtained in the scanning transmission electron microscope show the incorporation of iodine during the iodization process on the top of PbSe grains, which can create an iodine-incorporated PbSe outer shell. The iodine-incorporated PbSe releases electrons to recombine with holes in the PbSe layer so that the resistance of sensitized PbSe is about 800 times higher than that of PbSe without the iodine-incorporated layer. In addition, oxygen found in the outer shell of PbSe can act as an electron trap. Therefore, the photoresponse of sensitized PbSe is from the difference between the high dark resistance (by KI addition and iodine incorporation) and the low resistance after IR exposure due to electron compensation (by electron traps at grain boundary and electron–hole recombination in KI hole traps).

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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