Solar blind detectors have been fabricated based on AlGaN heterostructures grown on sapphire by molecular beam epitaxy or chemical vapour deposition. MSM and Schottky detectors were investigated. High performance devices have been obtained thanks to an optimization of the material crystalline quality (including the suppression of cracks) and of the process. We show that the spectral limitations of MSM detectors are dictated by intrinsic phenomena that are analysed in details while the responsivity and detectivity also depends on the technological process with a special emphasis on the geometry of finger and contact pads. One and two dimensional arrays have been fabricated and preliminary results are given. (c) 2005 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH S Co. KGaA, Weinheim.