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Advances in OptoElectronics
Volume 2016, Article ID 1832097, 18 pages
Review Article

Physics of Internal Photoemission and Its Infrared Applications in the Low-Energy Limit

1Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
2Center for Nano-Optics (CeNO), Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

Received 13 September 2015; Accepted 29 December 2015

Academic Editor: Jung Y. Huang

Copyright © 2016 Y. F. Lao and A. G. U. Perera. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Internal photoemission (IP) correlates with processes in which carriers are photoexcited and transferred from one material to another. This characteristic allows characterizing the properties of the heterostructure, for example, the band parameters of a material and the interface between two materials. IP also involves the generation and collection of photocarriers, which leads to applications in the photodetectors. This review discusses the generic IP processes based on heterojunction structures, characterizing -type band structure and the band offset at the heterointerface, and infrared photodetection including a novel concept of photoresponse extension based on an energy transfer mechanism between hot and cold carriers.