Mercury Zinc Telluride (HgZnTe) Semiconductors

Topics Covered

Chemical Properties
Electrical Properties
Thermal and Optical Properties
Recent Developments


Mercury zinc telluride is an alloy of mercury telluride and zinc telluride. It is a narrow-gap semiconductor material that has better chemical, thermal, and mechanical stability than mercury cadmium telluride. It has a steeper change of energy gap with mercury composition than mercury cadmium telluride thereby making compositional control stronger.


Mercury zinc telluride finds applications in the following:

  • Solar cells
  • Long wavelength photoconductors
  • Infrared detectors.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of mercury zinc telluride are provided in the table below:

Chemical Properties
Chemical Formula HgZnTe
CAS No. 1315-11-3
Group Mercury – 12
Zinc – 12
Tellurium – 16

Electrical Properties

The electrical properties of mercury zinc telluride are provided in the table below:

Electrical Properties
Band Gap 2.2 eV

Thermal and Optical Properties

The thermal and optical properties of mercury zinc telluride are provided in the tables below:

Thermal Properties
Heat of Formation -28.5 kcal/mol
Optical Properties
Refractive Index 2.7

Recent Developments

Thero C et al (1996) reported the first electrodeposition of mercury zinc telluride thin films. They deposited mercury zinc telluride thin films of composition varying between x=0 to x=0.4, on glass/indium tin oxide substrates.

The films were found to be uniform, adherent and smooth with a small grain size polycrystalline structure. In addition, x-ray diffraction analysis of the films showed a peak shift with alloying. The optical absorption edge was observed to be a soft, direct band edge having optical absorption coefficients in the order of 104 cm-1.

Li, J et al (1999) presented new calculations of characterization of mercury zinc telluride crystals using scanning tunneling optical spectroscopy (STOS). It was found that the low temperature tunneling current has a sharper onset at the band gap when compared to the low temperature optical absorption.

This sharp onset resulted from the rapid increase in the integrated transmission probabilities and greatly enhanced by large diffusion lengths. Therefore, the STOS technique is very competitive for calculating the local stoichiometry of mercury zinc telluride when compared to optical absorption.


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