Semiconductor nanowires have great potential for realizing broadband photodetectors monolithically integrated with silicon. However, the spectral range of such detectors has so far been limited to selected regions in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared regions. Here, we report on the first intersubband nanowire heterostructure array photodetectors exhibiting a spectrally resolved photoresponse from the visible to long-wavelength infrared. In particular, the infrared response from 3 to 20 μm is enabled by intersubband transitions in low-bandgap InAsP quantum discs synthesized axially within InP nanowires. The intriguing optical characteristics, including unexpected sensitivity to normal incident radiation, are explained by excitation of the longitudinal component of optical modes in the photonic crystal formed by the nanostructured portion of the detectors. Our results provide a generalizable insight into how broadband nanowire photodetectors may be designed and how engineered nanowire heterostructures open up new, fascinating opportunities for optoelectronics.
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