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Metal–semiconductor–metal Photodetectors

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Buyer's Guide

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Acronym: MSM photodetector

Definition: fast photodetector devices based on metal–semiconductor (Schottky) contacts

German: Metall-Halbleiter-Metall-Photodetektoren

Category: photonic devices

How to cite the article; suggest additional literature

A metal–semiconductor–metal photodetector (MSM detector) is a photodetector device containing two Schottky contacts, i.e., two metallic electrodes on a semiconductor material, in contrast to a p–n junction as in a photodiode. During operation, some electric voltage is applied to the electrodes. When light impinges on the semiconductor between the electrodes, it generates electric carriers (electrons and holes), which are collected by the electric field and thus can form a photocurrent.

MSM detectors can be made faster than photodiodes. Their detection bandwidths can reach hundreds of gigahertz, making them suitable for very high-speed optical fiber communications.


[1]W. C. Koscielniak et al., “Dynamic behavior of photocarriers in a GaAs metal–semiconductor–metal photodetector with sub-half-micron electrode pattern”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 54 (6), 567 (1989)
[2]J. B. D. Soole and H. Schumacher, “InGaAs metal–semiconductor–metal photodetectors for long wavelength optical communications”, IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 27 (3), 737 (1991)
[3]C. Moglestue et al., “Picosecond pulse response characteristics of GaAs metal–semiconductor–metal photodetectors”, J. Appl. Phys. 70 (4), 2435 (1991)
[4]S. Y. Chou et al., “Ultrafast nanoscale metal–semiconductor–metal photodetectors on bulk and low-temperature grown GaAs”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 61 (7), 819 (1992)
[5]J.-W. Shi et al., “Metal–semiconductor–metal traveling-wave photodetectors”, IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 13 (6), 623 (2001)

(Suggest additional literature!)

See also: photodetectors, photodiodes, bandwidth

In the RP Photonics Buyer's Guide, 1 supplier for metal-semiconductor-metal photodetectors is listed.

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