Optical immersion of mid-infrared LEDs and photodiodes for gas sensing applications

H. R. Hardaway, C. T. Elliott, N. T. Gordon, J. G. Crowder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The high gains in performance predicted for optical immersion are difficult to achieve in practice due to total internal reflection at the lens/detector interface. By reducing the air gap at this interface optical tunnelling becomes possible and the predicted gains can be realised in practical devices. Using this technique we have demonstrated large performance gains by optically immersing mid-infrared heterostructure InAlSb LEDs and photodiodes using hyperspherical germanium lenses. The development of an effective method of optical immersion that gives excellent optical coupling has produced a photodiode with a peak room temperature detectivity (D*) of 5.3 × 109 cmHz1/2W-1 at ?peak=5.4µm and a 40° field of view. A hyperspherically immersed LED showed a 5-fold improvement in the external efficiency, and a 3-fold improvement in the directionality compared with a conventional planar LED for f/2 optical systems. The incorporation of these uncooled devices into a White cell produced a NO2 gas sensing system with 2 part-per-million sensitivity, with an LED drive current of < 5mA. These results represent a significant advance in the use of solid state devices for portable gas sensing systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - the International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2002
EventLaser micromachining for Optoelectronic Device Fabrication - Brugge, Belgium
Duration: 30 Oct 200230 Oct 2002


  • Gas Sensing
  • LEDs
  • Mid-infrared
  • Optical immersion
  • Photodiodes


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical immersion of mid-infrared LEDs and photodiodes for gas sensing applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this