Auger recombination in narrow gap HgCdTe/CdHgTe quantum well heterostructures

Journal of Applied Physics, Volume 129, Issue 13, April 2021. We present detailed theoretical analysis of nonradiative Auger recombination in narrow-gap mercury-cadmium-telluride quantum wells (HgCdTe QWs). We suggest a microscopic model to calculate Auger recombination rates in the QWs with different Cd fraction as functions of non-equilibrium carrier density with account to the complex band dispersions and wavefunctions, degenerate carrier statistics, and screening effects. Our model is validated by the comparison of measured photoconductivity kinetics with the simulated curves. Furthermore, we use the developed calculation technique to evaluate different designs of HgCdTe/CdHgTe QWs for the far-IR emitters. In particular, we consider a series of QWs with the fixed bandgap of 40 meV (lasing wavelength about 30 μm) and find out that lasing may be favored in the QWs with moderate (6%–9%) cadmium content and not in the pure binary HgTe QWs, which is in contrast to intuitive expectations within threshold energy concept for Auger recombination. Though cadmium-free QWs do provide the highest possible Auger threshold energies, Cd-containing QWs feature much more efficient screening of Coulomb potential (and so Auger interaction) by free charge carriers. The latter effect contributes decisively into the suppression of Auger processes at low temperatures and high carrier concentrations.