Metal-Heterostructure-Metal (MHM) Ultraviolet Photodetectors


The proposed photodetectors, featuring a novel metal-heterostructure-metal (MHM) structure, utilize the AlGaN/GaN heterostructure and the intrinsic polarization field at the heterointerface, where the spontaneous polarization spatially separates the photo-generated electrons and holes and significantly enhances the photoresponsivity of the MHM photodetector at high temperatures. We will develop a novel all-GaN integrated photodetection and amplifying integrated circuits based on this demonstrated MHM structure.

  • Metal-Heterostructure-Metal (MHM) Ultraviolet Photodetectors
Commercialisation opportunities
Technology licensing agreement
Problem addressed

Low photo-response in high-temperature UV sensing for GaN-based photodetectors.

  • MHM photodetectors, having the functionality of intrinsic separation of photo-generated electrons and holes by spontaneous polarization, increasing its photoresponsivity.
Key impact
  • The photoresponsivity increased 3.5 times.
  • MHM photodetector is suitable for high temperature, high frequency UV sensing applications.
  • The photodetector, can be fabricated by a high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMT) compatible process on conventional III-nitride-based heterostructures, features an applicable candidate for an all-GaN integrated UV sensing and amplifying ICs for high-temperature applications.
  • The growing use of UV sensors in wearables will be one of the major UV sensors market trends that will gain traction during the next few years.
  • Automotive UV sensors are majorly used in powertrains to monitor speed, position, pressure, gas, and temperature inside the engine.
  • Unlike IR sensors, UV flame scanners respond more quickly to changes in flame status because they are not subjected to black body radiation and lack the inertial memory of a thermocouple.


  • US Patent Appl. No. US63/174055; China Patent App. No.: 202210038331.9
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 23rd worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global University Employability Survey 2021.