In the last two decades several new concepts of photodetectors to improve their performance have been proposed. New strategies are especially addressed to the group of so called high-operating-temperature detectors where - apart from increasing of operating temperature - both the size and power consumption reduction is expected. In this paper a new strategy in the photo-detector design is presented - the barrier detectors: CnBn; CnBnN+, CpBn and unipolar barrier photodiodes. In spite of considering barrier detectors based on AIIIBV bulk compounds and type-II superlattices as having theoretically a better performance than those based on HgCdTe, the latter compound is also used to fabricate barrier detectors. Among many new applications of barrier detectors the detection of explosives can be extremely important due to an increased threat of terrorist attacks. This paper presents the status of the barrier detectors and compares the performance of mid-wave HgCdTe barrier detectors and unipolar barrier photodiodes.