Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive

Micro-Light-Emitting Diode Arrays
Volume 1, Number 1, June 2009
L. Zhu
C. W. Ng
N. Wong, Member, IEEE
K. K. Y. Wong, Member, IEEE
P. T. Lai, Senior Member, IEEE
H. W. Choi, Senior Member, IEEE
DOI: 10.1109/JPHOT.2009.2020963
1943-0655/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE
Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive
Micro-Light-Emitting Diode Arrays
L. Zhu, C. W. Ng, N. Wong, Member, IEEE, K. K. Y. Wong, Member, IEEE,
P. T. Lai, Senior Member, IEEE, and H. W. Choi, Senior Member, IEEE
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
DOI: 10.1109/JPHOT.2009.2020963
1943-0655/$25.00 Ó2009 IEEE
Manuscript received March 5, 2009; revised March 26, 2009. First published Online April 14,
2009. Current version published May 8, 2009. This work was supported by a CERG grant of
the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong (Project HKU 7121/06E) and the University
Development Fund (Nanotechnology Research Institute, 00600009) of the University of
Hong Kong. Corresponding author: H. W. Choi (e-mail: hwchoi@khu.hk).
Abstract: We report on an integrated fiber-coupled bi-linear micro-light-emitting diode array,
serving as a portable microdisplay system. The fiber bundle transforms the bi-linearly
arranged optical signals from the emissive array into a 6-by-8 pixel microdisplay, offering a
crisp and clear optical output. The pixel-to-pixel coupling arrangement ensures optical
coupling efficiency. Due to the narrow acceptance cones of optical fibers, individual pixels
can be well resolved with minimal crosstalk. The performance and functionality of this optical
system is fully evaluated. A model to determine the fiber-coupling efficiency was
constructed; it was found that the simulated results compare well with the measured data.
Index Terms: GaN, micro-light-emitting diode, microdisplay, fiber coupling.
1. Introduction
The applications involving nitride-based ultra-violet or visible light-emitting diodes (LEDs) extend
well beyond the typical usages as indicator lamps or general lighting; other applications have been
demonstrated recently, one of which is the emissive microdisplay comprising arrays of micrometer-
scale LEDs [1]. Apart from the application as microdisplays, micro-LED arrays have also been used
for biological imaging and detection [2], fluorescence detection [3] and maskless lithography [4].
Most of the reported two-dimensional (2-D) micro-LED arrays are designed based on the matrix-
addressing method, a strategy which reduces the overall number of bonding pads. However, the
complexity of the device fabrication process is increased; so is the requirement on the driving
circuitry [5]. To overcome these difficulties, we demonstrate a scheme of generating a 2-D micro-
display from a bi-linear LED array via a specially-designed fiber bundle whereby fibers are linearly
arranged on one end, while having a 2-D arrangement at the other. Such a one-dmensional to
2-D conversion idea is derived from round to keyed linear fiber bundles used for coupling light
through the narrow slit at the entrance of a spectrograph.
The fiber bundle enables multiple optical signals to be simultaneously transmitted away from the
source, eliminating the need for bulky and lossy optics as with free-space transmission [6]. At the
output end, the signals can be projected for imaging purposes. Distinguishing from the use of a
30000-channel multi-core imaging fiber in the demonstration by Xu et al. [7], our fiber-coupling
system is further optimized, requiring just as many fiber strands as there are LED pixels without loss
of resolution. Apart from imaging purposes, this fiber-coupled LED system can be adapted for multi-
channel data transmission [8], a task which has traditionally been fulfilled by laser sources, or for
photoexcitation of biological materials [7]. The divergent nature of LED emission results in inevitable
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 1
IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
crosstalk between adjacent pixels. In our previous works on micro-LED arrays, it was found that the
light cone from adjacent pixels tend to merge at higher driving currents due to Lambertian dispersion
[9], making it impossible to resolve individual pixel points. The fiber bundle eliminates crosstalk by
virtue of its limited acceptance cone, ensuring that the output pattern is sharp and fully resolvable.
2. Experimental Details
Our bi-linear micro-LED array is designed with 47 pixels arranged across two rows, fabricated on an
MOCVD-grown InGaN/GaN LED wafer with specified wavelength of 470 nm (blue). After depositing
a Ni/Au (7 nm/7 nm) current spreading layer by e-beam evaporation system followed by rapid
thermal annealing in air (550

C, 10 mins), the microdisk active regions with different diameters
(20 jm, 40 jm and 60 jm) are photolithographically defined, all with the same center-to-center
spacing of 120 jm. An image-reversal photoresist (AZ-5214) was used in order to produce a
T-shaped profile with overhanging lips [10] to facilitate oxide lift-off at a later stage, as illustrated in the
schematic diagram in Fig. 1(a). The pillar structures were formed by reactive ion etching (RIE), as
shown in Fig. 1(b). Prior to metal deposition, a 10-nm-thickness SiO
2
layer was deposited by e-beam
evaporation systemto act as an insulating layer, depicted in Fig. 1(c). With the residual photoresist on
the active regions after etching, the top-contacts of the individual pixels are exposed by a lift-off
process. The photoresist patterns with a T-shaped profile ensured effortless lift-off. After oxide lift-off,
the top regions of the pillars are exposed for contacts, while the regions surrounding the pillars are
protected with oxide to prevent shorting of the p-n junctions, as illustrated in Fig. 1(d). Finally, a Ti/Al
(20 nm/200 nm) layer was deposited to form bonding pads, producing the final device structure of
Fig. 1(e). While the pixels share two common n-contact pads located at either ends of the array (which
serve to increase the current spreading uniformity in the n-GaNlayer), they each have their individual
p-contact pad to provide individual control. The chips are then diced by laser-micromachining and
die-bonded to a 48-pin ceramic side-braze package and subsequently wire-bonded. A close-up
view of the final packaged device (with pixel diameters of 20 jm) with several illuminated pixels is
depicted in Fig. 2(a); Fig. 2(b) shows the far-field oblique view of the same device. The fiber
Fig. 1. 3-D schematic diagrams illustrating the fabrication process flow and the layout of the device
structure: (a) patterning by image-reversal photolithography; (b) pillar structures with residual
photoresist after RIE etching; (c) SiO
2
by e-beam deposition; (d) active region exposure after oxide
lift-off; (e) final device structures after p- and n-pad formation.
IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 2
bundle was designed such that the two ends are bi-linear and 2-D terminated, respectively. The
diameter of each strand of fiber core is about 90 jm. At the input (entrance) end, the fibers are
aligned such that the center-to-center spacing and arrangement is identical to that of the bi-linear
micro-LED array. This arrangement allows light from each emitting pixel to effectively couple light
into its corresponding fiber. The fibers are twisted along the cable to give a 6 Â 8 2-D arrangement
at the output (exit) end, at a resolution of $1000 dots per inch (dpi). A three-dimensional (3-D)
schematic diagram of the coupling setup, indicating the conversion from a linear-arranged input
to a 2-D output, is shown in Fig. 3. Microphotographs in Fig. 4(a)–(c) depict the 24 Â 2 input
and 6 Â 8 output ends of the bundle, together with an image of the actual fiber coupling setup.
Fig. 2. Operational image of the packaged micro-LEDarray at (a) close-up and (b) far-field oblique views.
Fig. 3. A 3-D schematic diagram showing the fiber-coupling system, highlighting the pixel-to-pixel nature
of coupling between the linearly arrayed LED pixels and the fiber strands, together with fibers arranged
in a 6 Â 8 array at the output (exit) end.
IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 3
The device is driven by an FPGA-constructed circuit which enables alphanumeric characters to
be displayed. The fiber bundle is mounted on a 3-axis micromanipulator for precise alignment to the
microarray. Optimal alignment is achieved when maximum optical signal is detected at the output
end. The measured turn-on voltage of the device is $3.8 V, while the injection current at 3.3 V
is 1.58 mA for each 20-jm pixel. The LEDs are operated at this voltage since they are driven by the
digital output of an FPGA board. At this current, each pixel emits 26.9 jW of monochromatic light
(measured with a calibrated Si photodetector placed in proximity to the device). Emission at
microwatts level is due to the micrometer dimensions of the pixels. With the dual n-pad design, the
pixels emit with high uniformity across a row. The functionality of the fiber-coupled micro-LEDarray as
a microdisplay is demonstrated by displaying illuminated pixels at the 2-D end of the fiber bundle.
Fig. 5 shows optical microphotographs captured from the 6 Â 8 fiber array, displaying a sequence of
letters BHKU,[ as well as the corresponding illuminated pixels on bi-linear micro-LED array. The
output appears sharp and of good contrast, displaying clear and legible patterns with negligible
crosstalk, attributed to the narrow acceptance cone of the fiber.
3. Results and Discussions
Efficient coupling of light into the fibers is an important consideration of this system because LEDs
are emitters with radiation patterns which approximate the Lambertian distribution. As a result, it is
difficult to collect most of the emitted light and guide them into the fiber cores. Fig. 6 shows a cross-
sectional schematic diagram detailing the fiber-coupling arrangement. The diameter of an individual
micro-LED pixel ðdÞ, the diameter of fiber core ðDÞ, together with the center-to-center spacing ðWÞ,
is 20 jm, 90 jm and 120 jm, respectively. Additionally, h represents the separation between the
fiber and the emitter.
Fig. 4. Microphotographic images showing (a) the 24 Â 2 input end and (b) the 6 Â 8 output end of the
fiber bundle and (c) the alignment of fiber bundle to the micro-LED arrays.
IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 4
The half-angle ð0Þ of 14.1

for the fiber acceptance cone can be calculated using the following
equation from the numeral aperture ðNA ¼ 0.22Þ
NA ¼ n
0
sin 0. (1)
where the refractive index of air, n
0
, is 1. The angular beam divergence ð¸Þ of the micro-LED pixel
should also be taken into account. In a report by Jiang et al., a value of 2¸ ¼ 120

for a single blue
micro-LED was determined from the measured angular emission distribution plot [11]. The overall
coupling efficiency j, can thus be estimated using a geometrical approach with the following
relation:
j ¼ P
fiber
,P
LED
¼ j
Fresnel
Âj
ang
. (2)
where P
LED
and P
fiber
are the optical powers before and after coupling into the fiber, while j
Fresnel
and j
ang
are the Fresnel factor (taking Fresnel losses into account) and angular factor (considering
angular losses), respectively. The Fresnel factor, which accounts for the losses due the difference
in refractive indices between air and silica, can be approximated by
j
Fresnel
¼ 1 Àðn
fiber
À1Þ
2
,ðn
fiber
þ1Þ
2
. (3)
Fig. 6. Cross-sectional schematic diagram illustrating how light emitted from the micro-LEDs is coupled
into the fiber.
Fig. 5. (a)–(c) Optical microscope images from the exit end of the fiber, displaying the letters BHKU.[
(d)–(f) The corresponding illuminated pixels on the micro-LED array.
IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 5
where n
fiber
, the refractive index of the fiber core, is 1.46, giving a value of 0.96 for j
Fresnel
. On the
other hand, the inherent fiber loss can be neglected in this calculation since the transmission length
of our fiber bundle is only about 1 m.
The angular emission pattern of our microsized LEDs is measured by fixating a device at the
center of a rotation stage with a collection fiber placed orthogonal to the emission pixel at a
separation distance of 1 cm. The stage was rotated from 14

to 176

at intervals of 2

(the device
emission plane is set as 0

). An optical spectrum was collected through the fiber at each point. The
relative integrated optical intensities as a function of angle are plotted in Fig. 7, which illustrates the
emission pattern of our micro-LEDs. The normalized Lambertian distribution function is also plotted
on the same graph for comparison.
From these two plots, it is observed that the micro-LED emission pattern can be modeled as a
Lambertian distribution with reasonably good accuracy. Hence, the Lambertian emission pattern for
the LEDs can be described by the cosine relation:
IðcÞ ¼ I
0
cos c dM dA. (4)
where I
0
is the maximum rate of photon emission per unit solid angle along the normal direction,
diminishing to zero for c ¼ 90

, while IðcÞ is the emission rate at an angle of c fromthe normal, and A
is the emitting area. By performing the integrations the angular coupling efficiency factor is derived as
j
ang
¼
Z
c
0
0
sinc cos c dc,
Z
¬,2
0
sin c cos c dc. (5)
where c
0
is a piecewise function dependent on the spacing h due to the fiber acceptance angle ð0Þ.
Light can only be guided along optical fibers if the incident angle is smaller than this critical angle,
giving rise to further coupling losses. When h is larger than the first critical height (denoted as H
2
in
Fig. 5 and calculated to be 243 jm), all the incident photons on the fiber would satisfy this condition;
the integration limit c
0
will be independent of 0 and can be evaluated as
c
0
¼
1
2
arctan
D,2 Àr
h
þarctan
D,2 þr
h

. (6)
where r is the position of the point with respect to the center of the LED(in this model, we assume that
the LED consists of numerous point sources of light). On the other hand, as h decreases to another
critical height (denoted as H
1
in Fig. 5 and calculated to be 155 jm) as the fiber approaches the LED,
the integration limit c
0
begins to be partially dependent on 0 and can be evaluated as
c
0
¼
1
2
arctan
D,2 Àr
h
þ0

. (7)
Fig. 7. A diagram shows the actual emission pattern corresponds with the ideal Lambertian distribution.
IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 6
Finally, when h G H
1
, c
0
is completely determined by the fiber acceptance angle 0, that is,
c
0
¼ 0. (8)
From these equations, the coupling efficiency will be increased with a larger fiber core and with
decreasing LED-fiber separation h. In practice, h is limited by the loop height of the bonding wire,
which was set to 600 jmwhen bonding this chip. j was experimentally determined by measuring the
optical powers before and after coupling through a single strand of 1 mfiber. At an operation voltage of
3.3 V, the signal emitted froma single pixel was measured as 26.9 jW, and the transmitted power was
again measured at the other end at a range separation distance h. h was varied between 0 to 630 jm
at intervals of 10 jm. The coupling efficiencies were evaluated by taking the ratio of the optical powers
after and before coupling are plotted in the Fig. 8, together with the simulated results based on the
model we constructed. From this graph, it can be seen that the trend of the measured results
correlates well with the simulated results, although they are consistently lower than the computed
values. The lower measured values can be attributed to the deviation between the actual emission
pattern and the ideal Lambertian distribution. FromFig. 7, it is observed that more photons are emitted
laterally beyond the fiber light acceptance cone than is predicted by the Lambertian function.
Additionally, the loss may arise from the experimental setup, such as the accuracy of fiber-LED
alignment and the accuracy of determining the separation between them. In fact, this result highlights
the advantage of this direct pixel-to-fiber strategy as opposed to the use of an imaging fiber, which
would otherwise incur multiple coupling losses. In order to improve light coupling into fibers, the
emission patterns from the microscale emitters should be modified in order to increase the extent of
overlap with the acceptance cone of the fiber. This can be achieved with fabricated [12] or self-
assembled [13] microlenses, which has been proven to be capable of reducing the divergence cone.
Another solution involves the integration of a photonic crystal array on top of the emitters [14], [15].
Photonic crystals have been demonstrated to enhance emission directionality. Additionally, surface
texturing, such as incorporating pyramidal reflectors on the LEDsurface, is another effective means of
enhancing light extraction [16].
The fraction of emitted light not channeled into its designated fiber may be coupled into the
adjacent fiber, contributing to crosstalk. Fortunately, the narrow acceptance cone prevents this from
happening. Assuming that the device and fiber bundle are well-aligned, a greater proportion of light
will fall into the acceptance cone of the designated fiber as the separation h reduces. As the fiber
reaches another critical position denoted as H
3
, crosstalk will be completely eliminated. At this
point, even photons emitted at the maximum divergence angle will not fall into the acceptance cone
of adjacent fibers. H
3
can be calculated based on geometrical considerations as follows:
H
3
¼ ðW ÀDÞ þðD ÀdÞ,2 ð Þ, tan 0. (9)
Fig. 8. The coupling efficiency based on measurement and simulation.
IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 7
The calculated value of H
3
for our system is about 333 jm. In our demonstration with h ¼ 600 jm,
crosstalk might be expected but was not visually observed. From equation (9), it can be deduced
that when parameters D, W and 0 are fixed for a particular fiber, reducing the pixel dimension d will
result in an increase of critical distance H
3
in Fig. 6. Intuitively, designing systems with pixels of
smaller dimension and fibers with larger core diameter can facilitate fiber coupling.
4. Conclusion
With a specially-designed optical fiber bundle, a 2-D microdisplay has been demonstrated, using a
bi-linear micro-LED array as the display engine. The feasibility of the scheme has been verified by
displaying alphanumeric characters at the 2-D end of the fiber bundle. These sharp and clear
patterns show that crosstalk can be minimized, if not eliminated, from the fiber-coupled system.
Theoretical predictions show that the coupling efficiency can be higher by reducing the LED-fiber
separation distance, or the integration of microlenses.
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IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays
Vol. 1, No. 1, June 2009 Page 8

Most of the reported two-dimensional (2-D) micro-LED arrays are designed based on the matrixaddressing method. Apart from the application as microdisplays. At the output end. Such a one-dmensional to 2-D conversion idea is derived from round to keyed linear fiber bundles used for coupling light through the narrow slit at the entrance of a spectrograph. offering a crisp and clear optical output. our fiber-coupling system is further optimized. Member. fluorescence detection [3] and maskless lithography [4]. the complexity of the device fabrication process is increased. The pixel-to-pixel coupling arrangement ensures optical coupling efficiency. W. Y. 1. First published Online April 14. and H. Hong Kong DOI: 10. Current version published May 8. The performance and functionality of this optical system is fully evaluated. 00600009) of the University of Hong Kong. University of Hong Kong.2020963 1943-0655/$25. or for photoexcitation of biological materials [7]. it was found that the simulated results compare well with the measured data. No.2009. IEEE Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. microdisplay. a strategy which reduces the overall number of bonding pads.00 Ó2009 IEEE Manuscript received March 5. Lai. [7].hk). Choi. IEEE. This work was supported by a CERG grant of the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong (Project HKU 7121/06E) and the University Development Fund (Nanotechnology Research Institute. eliminating the need for bulky and lossy optics as with free-space transmission [6]. revised March 26. this fiber-coupled LED system can be adapted for multichannel data transmission [8].IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-Light-Emitting Diode Arrays L. IEEE. 2009. IEEE. Distinguishing from the use of a 30 000-channel multi-core imaging fiber in the demonstration by Xu et al. 1. Senior Member. Corresponding author: H. Choi (e-mail: hwchoi@khu. Wong. C. 2009. June 2009 Page 1 . N. Zhu. 2009. T.1109/JPHOT. Abstract: We report on an integrated fiber-coupled bi-linear micro-light-emitting diode array. Wong. requiring just as many fiber strands as there are LED pixels without loss of resolution. W. Index Terms: GaN. micro-LED arrays have also been used for biological imaging and detection [2]. K. the signals can be projected for imaging purposes. However. Introduction The applications involving nitride-based ultra-violet or visible light-emitting diodes (LEDs) extend well beyond the typical usages as indicator lamps or general lighting. 2009. A model to determine the fiber-coupling efficiency was constructed. while having a 2-D arrangement at the other. one of which is the emissive microdisplay comprising arrays of micrometerscale LEDs [1]. micro-light-emitting diode. To overcome these difficulties. P. individual pixels can be well resolved with minimal crosstalk. Ng. other applications have been demonstrated recently. 1. so is the requirement on the driving circuitry [5]. Apart from imaging purposes. fiber coupling. The fiber bundle enables multiple optical signals to be simultaneously transmitted away from the source. Member. we demonstrate a scheme of generating a 2-D microdisplay from a bi-linear LED array via a specially-designed fiber bundle whereby fibers are linearly arranged on one end. Due to the narrow acceptance cones of optical fibers. W. The divergent nature of LED emission results in inevitable Vol. Senior Member. K. serving as a portable microdisplay system. a task which has traditionally been fulfilled by laser sources. The fiber bundle transforms the bi-linearly arranged optical signals from the emissive array into a 6-by-8 pixel microdisplay.

2. (e) final device structures after p. 1(d). as illustrated in Fig. (d) active region exposure after oxide lift-off. a Ti/Al (20 nm/200 nm) layer was deposited to form bonding pads. fabricated on an MOCVD-grown InGaN/GaN LED wafer with specified wavelength of 470 nm (blue). Prior to metal deposition. as shown in Fig.IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays Fig. No. 40 m and 60 m) are photolithographically defined. With the residual photoresist on the active regions after etching. the top regions of the pillars are exposed for contacts. 1. After oxide lift-off. the top-contacts of the individual pixels are exposed by a lift-off process. The photoresist patterns with a T-shaped profile ensured effortless lift-off. The chips are then diced by laser-micromachining and die-bonded to a 48-pin ceramic side-braze package and subsequently wire-bonded. all with the same center-to-center spacing of 120 m. 2(a). they each have their individual p-contact pad to provide individual control. ensuring that the output pattern is sharp and fully resolvable. it was found that the light cone from adjacent pixels tend to merge at higher driving currents due to Lambertian dispersion [9]. 10 mins). making it impossible to resolve individual pixel points. the microdisk active regions with different diameters (20 m. while the regions surrounding the pillars are protected with oxide to prevent shorting of the p-n junctions. producing the final device structure of Fig. Experimental Details Our bi-linear micro-LED array is designed with 47 pixels arranged across two rows.and n-pad formation. The fiber Vol. Fig. The pillar structures were formed by reactive ion etching (RIE). 1(b). depicted in Fig. Finally. 1(e). 1. as illustrated in the schematic diagram in Fig. A close-up view of the final packaged device (with pixel diameters of 20 m) with several illuminated pixels is depicted in Fig. (b) pillar structures with residual photoresist after RIE etching. The fiber bundle eliminates crosstalk by virtue of its limited acceptance cone. 3-D schematic diagrams illustrating the fabrication process flow and the layout of the device structure: (a) patterning by image-reversal photolithography. After depositing a Ni/Au (7 nm/7 nm) current spreading layer by e-beam evaporation system followed by rapid thermal annealing in air (550  C. crosstalk between adjacent pixels. 1. (c) SiO2 by e-beam deposition. In our previous works on micro-LED arrays. June 2009 Page 2 . 2(b) shows the far-field oblique view of the same device. a 10-nm-thickness SiO2 layer was deposited by e-beam evaporation system to act as an insulating layer. 1(c). An image-reversal photoresist (AZ-5214) was used in order to produce a T-shaped profile with overhanging lips [10] to facilitate oxide lift-off at a later stage. 1(a). While the pixels share two common n-contact pads located at either ends of the array (which serve to increase the current spreading uniformity in the n-GaN layer).

indicating the conversion from a linear-arranged input to a 2-D output. At the input (entrance) end. Vol. Fig. Microphotographs in Fig. respectively. This arrangement allows light from each emitting pixel to effectively couple light into its corresponding fiber. The fibers are twisted along the cable to give a 6 Â 8 2-D arrangement at the output (exit) end. A three-dimensional (3-D) schematic diagram of the coupling setup. 2. highlighting the pixel-to-pixel nature of coupling between the linearly arrayed LED pixels and the fiber strands.IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays Fig. the fibers are aligned such that the center-to-center spacing and arrangement is identical to that of the bi-linear micro-LED array. 4(a)–(c) depict the 24 Â 2 input and 6 Â 8 output ends of the bundle. bundle was designed such that the two ends are bi-linear and 2-D terminated. at a resolution of $1000 dots per inch (dpi). No. June 2009 Page 3 . is shown in Fig. together with fibers arranged in a 6 Â 8 array at the output (exit) end. 1. 1. A 3-D schematic diagram showing the fiber-coupling system. 3. 3. Operational image of the packaged micro-LED array at (a) close-up and (b) far-field oblique views. The diameter of each strand of fiber core is about 90 m. together with an image of the actual fiber coupling setup.

attributed to the narrow acceptance cone of the fiber. The diameter of an individual micro-LED pixel ðd Þ. each pixel emits 26. the diameter of fiber core ðDÞ. The measured turn-on voltage of the device is $3. Additionally. displaying a sequence of letters BHKU. 5 shows optical microphotographs captured from the 6 Â 8 fiber array. Emission at microwatts level is due to the micrometer dimensions of the pixels. The functionality of the fiber-coupled micro-LED array as a microdisplay is demonstrated by displaying illuminated pixels at the 2-D end of the fiber bundle. while the injection current at 3. The device is driven by an FPGA-constructed circuit which enables alphanumeric characters to be displayed. 4. together with the center-to-center spacing ðW Þ. Microphotographic images showing (a) the 24 Â 2 input end and (b) the 6 Â 8 output end of the fiber bundle and (c) the alignment of fiber bundle to the micro-LED arrays.8 V.3 V is 1. 1. The LEDs are operated at this voltage since they are driven by the digital output of an FPGA board.58 mA for each 20-m pixel. The fiber bundle is mounted on a 3-axis micromanipulator for precise alignment to the microarray. June 2009 Page 4 . 3. Optimal alignment is achieved when maximum optical signal is detected at the output end. the pixels emit with high uniformity across a row.IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays Fig. it is difficult to collect most of the emitted light and guide them into the fiber cores. With the dual n-pad design. No. Results and Discussions Efficient coupling of light into the fibers is an important consideration of this system because LEDs are emitters with radiation patterns which approximate the Lambertian distribution. At this current. 6 shows a crosssectional schematic diagram detailing the fiber-coupling arrangement. Vol. The output appears sharp and of good contrast. is 20 m. Fig. 90 m and 120 m. 1.9 W of monochromatic light (measured with a calibrated Si photodetector placed in proximity to the device). h represents the separation between the fiber and the emitter. respectively. displaying clear and legible patterns with negligible crosstalk. Fig. As a result.[ as well as the corresponding illuminated pixels on bi-linear micro-LED array.

1. is 1. The angular beam divergence ð Þ of the micro-LED pixel should also be taken into account. (a)–(c) Optical microscope images from the exit end of the fiber. respectively. 6. n0 . which accounts for the losses due the difference in refractive indices between air and silica. The half-angle ðÞ of 14. (3) Vol. displaying the letters BHKU.[ (d)–(f) The corresponding illuminated pixels on the micro-LED array. No. a value of 2 ¼ 120 for a single blue micro-LED was determined from the measured angular emission distribution plot [11].1 for the fiber acceptance cone can be calculated using the following equation from the numeral aperture ðNA ¼ 0:22Þ NA ¼ n0 sin . can be approximated by Fresnel ¼ 1 À ðnfiber À 1Þ2 =ðnfiber þ 1Þ2 .IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays Fig. while Fresnel and ang are the Fresnel factor (taking Fresnel losses into account) and angular factor (considering angular losses). The overall coupling efficiency . Fig. 1. June 2009 Page 5 . can thus be estimated using a geometrical approach with the following relation:  ¼ Pfiber =PLED ¼ Fresnel  ang . In a report by Jiang et al.. (1) where the refractive index of air. The Fresnel factor. (2) where PLED and Pfiber are the optical powers before and after coupling into the fiber. 5. Cross-sectional schematic diagram illustrating how light emitted from the micro-LEDs is coupled into the fiber.

7. which illustrates the emission pattern of our micro-LEDs. and A is the emitting area. giving a value of 0.IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays Fig. The relative integrated optical intensities as a function of angle are plotted in Fig. A diagram shows the actual emission pattern corresponds with the ideal Lambertian distribution. Light can only be guided along optical fibers if the incident angle is smaller than this critical angle.46.96 for Fresnel . By performing the integrations the angular coupling efficiency factor is derived as Z 0 sin cos d = 0 0 =2 Z ang ¼ sin cos d . The angular emission pattern of our microsized LEDs is measured by fixating a device at the center of a rotation stage with a collection fiber placed orthogonal to the emission pixel at a separation distance of 1 cm. the integration limit 0 will be independent of  and can be evaluated as   1 D=2 À r D=2 þ r arctan þ arctan 0 ¼ . The stage was rotated from 14 to 176 at intervals of 2 (the device emission plane is set as 0 ). giving rise to further coupling losses. 5 and calculated to be 243 m). On the other hand. is 1. the Lambertian emission pattern for the LEDs can be described by the cosine relation: Ið Þ ¼ I0 cos d M dA. On the other hand. all the incident photons on the fiber would satisfy this condition. we assume that the LED consists of numerous point sources of light). 5 and calculated to be 155 m) as the fiber approaches the LED. as h decreases to another critical height (denoted as H1 in Fig. where nfiber . (5) where 0 is a piecewise function dependent on the spacing h due to the fiber acceptance angle ðÞ. An optical spectrum was collected through the fiber at each point. the inherent fiber loss can be neglected in this calculation since the transmission length of our fiber bundle is only about 1 m. (4) where I0 is the maximum rate of photon emission per unit solid angle along the normal direction. 7. the refractive index of the fiber core. From these two plots. No. The normalized Lambertian distribution function is also plotted on the same graph for comparison. it is observed that the micro-LED emission pattern can be modeled as a Lambertian distribution with reasonably good accuracy. Hence. 1. diminishing to zero for ¼ 90 . the integration limit 0 begins to be partially dependent on  and can be evaluated as   1 D=2 À r arctan þ : (7) 0 ¼ 2 h Vol. while Ið Þ is the emission rate at an angle of from the normal. When h is larger than the first critical height (denoted as H2 in Fig. (6) 2 h h where r is the position of the point with respect to the center of the LED (in this model. 1. June 2009 Page 6 .

although they are consistently lower than the computed values. is another effective means of enhancing light extraction [16]. 8. At an operation voltage of 3. that is. which has been proven to be capable of reducing the divergence cone. This can be achieved with fabricated [12] or selfassembled [13] microlenses. surface texturing. crosstalk will be completely eliminated. contributing to crosstalk. In order to improve light coupling into fibers. 1. a greater proportion of light will fall into the acceptance cone of the designated fiber as the separation h reduces. which was set to 600 m when bonding this chip. this result highlights the advantage of this direct pixel-to-fiber strategy as opposed to the use of an imaging fiber. and the transmitted power was again measured at the other end at a range separation distance h. h is limited by the loop height of the bonding wire. 1. Finally. At this point. even photons emitted at the maximum divergence angle will not fall into the acceptance cone of adjacent fibers. Additionally. the coupling efficiency will be increased with a larger fiber core and with decreasing LED-fiber separation h.9 W. Fortunately. The lower measured values can be attributed to the deviation between the actual emission pattern and the ideal Lambertian distribution. As the fiber reaches another critical position denoted as H3 . Photonic crystals have been demonstrated to enhance emission directionality. the loss may arise from the experimental setup. June 2009 Page 7 . 7. The fraction of emitted light not channeled into its designated fiber may be coupled into the adjacent fiber. Assuming that the device and fiber bundle are well-aligned. Another solution involves the integration of a photonic crystal array on top of the emitters [14]. No. 0 is completely determined by the fiber acceptance angle . when h G H1 . such as incorporating pyramidal reflectors on the LED surface. the emission patterns from the microscale emitters should be modified in order to increase the extent of overlap with the acceptance cone of the fiber. In practice. In fact. together with the simulated results based on the model we constructed. From this graph.3 V. the signal emitted from a single pixel was measured as 26. From Fig. the narrow acceptance cone prevents this from happening. it can be seen that the trend of the measured results correlates well with the simulated results. 0 ¼ : (8) From these equations. h was varied between 0 to 630 m at intervals of 10 m. it is observed that more photons are emitted laterally beyond the fiber light acceptance cone than is predicted by the Lambertian function. H3 can be calculated based on geometrical considerations as follows: H3 ¼ ððW À DÞ þ ðD À d Þ=2Þ= tan : (9) Vol.IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays Fig.  was experimentally determined by measuring the optical powers before and after coupling through a single strand of 1 m fiber. such as the accuracy of fiber-LED alignment and the accuracy of determining the separation between them. 8. The coupling efficiency based on measurement and simulation. The coupling efficiencies were evaluated by taking the ratio of the optical powers after and before coupling are plotted in the Fig. which would otherwise incur multiple coupling losses. Additionally. [15].

no. 167–170. and N. Aizenman..[ J. R. no. D. Gu. In our demonstration with h ¼ 600 m. Davitt. M. Dawson. K. Campagnola. 18. W. [5] Z. 4. C. 2. vol.IEEE Photonics Journal Pixel-to-Pixel Fiber-Coupled Emissive Micro-LED Arrays The calculated value of H3 for our system is about 333 m. 18. BFiber-coupled light-emitting diode for localized photostimulation of neurons expressing channel-rhodopsin-2. 2005. no. 2008. Phys. Feb. D. 1. Nakamura. Phys. Jul. BHigh-resolution 128x96 nitride microdisplay. Y. vol. Dong. Topics Quantum Electron. Moran. D. Technol. 22. Zhang. Xi. M. 25. 277–279. M.[ IEEE Photon. 1990. 221 105. Lett. and S. H. E. B. Y. Nurmikko. C. no. 91. J. V. (C). R.-L. H. Appl. J. Nov. A. Chang. if not eliminated. [16] J. J.[ Appl. J. Gu. W. Q. McGroddy. 9. Li. Jeon. Danner. H. Mar.[ Appl. Lin. Luo. Griffin. Kim. 46.-K. 97. 78. A. vol. Mar. BApplication of blue–green and ultraviolet micro-LEDs to biological imaging and detection. Phys. 1138–1139. W. Ee. 22. Boutou. J. 2007. 1. and M.[ Electron. Intuitively. Gu. p. 113 514. no.. no. Choi. [14] A. June 2009 Page 8 . L. 2008. Tsao. Xu. pp. pp. W. pp. vol. Xu. it can be deduced that when parameters D. Lett. [9] H. K. D. Zylka. Neil. S. Patterson. pp. BEnhancement of light extraction efficiency of InGaN quantum wells light emitting diodes using SiO2 /polystyrene microlens arrays. pp. Lett.. vol. From equation (9). vol.[ IEEE J. 7. [10] Product data sheet. French. vol. K. Ozden. Choquette. Song. Dawson.-W.[ Appl. 41. Neurosci. The feasibility of the scheme has been verified by displaying alphanumeric characters at the 2-D end of the fiber bundle. X. References [1] H. E. 54. K. E. W. Dawson. Phys. 11. BGaN/InGaN light emitting diodes with embedded photonic crystal obtained by lateral epitaxial overgrowth. and A. V. E. X. Shakya. J. D. R. Nurmikko. J. W. AZ-5214E Image Reversal Photoresist. vol. Girkin. 5. E. pp. Mar. No. vol. [6] L. [2] H. BEnhancement in external quantum efficiency of blue light-emitting diode by photonic crystal surface grating. 2650–2658. Technol. E. Davitt. no. 2007. Jin. Weisbuch. W. Sep. M. 221 107./Feb. or the integration of microlenses. Kim. Lett. Sep. vol. Poher. using a bi-linear micro-LED array as the display engine. 2. C. A. 2903–2906. vol. May 2004. J.. 1.[ J. BSimulation of 4 Â 4 light coupling to a single-mode fiber. 1303–1305. Dawson.[ IEEE Electron Device Lett.[ IEEE Trans. These sharp and clear patterns show that crosstalk can be minimized. and M.. G. Lett. Gong. Appl. Lett. Vol. NJ. M. 22. BApplication of light-emitting diodes for aerosol fluorescence detection. P. vol. BIII-nitride blue microdisplay. from the fiber-coupled system. and A. no. Liu. p. BPolymer microlens arrays applicable to AlInGaN ultraviolet micro-light-emitting diodes. Lett. S. Electron Devices.[ Opt. Pasquale. Cheng. 094 013. DenBaars. X.[ J. III. vol. Sel. 103–106. BCombining multicore imaging fiber with matrix addressable blue/green LED arrays for spatiotemporal photonic excitation at cellular level. Dawson. David. pp. BMatrix-addressable micropixellated InGaN light-emitting diodes with uniform emission and increased light output. 2347–2349. and K. Somerville. Hu. Choi. Jeon. Song. 14. D.. V. A. pp. Oct. Clariant Corp. no. Arif. reducing the pixel dimension d will result in an increase of critical distance H3 in Fig.[ Appl. Phys. and M. 6. no. p. [7] H. [15] T. a 2-D microdisplay has been demonstrated. Jan. 169. p. S. 27–33. 2008. Tsao. and A.. BNitride micro-display with integrated micro-lenses.. K. Opt. 1707–1709. Conclusion With a specially-designed optical fiber bundle. 1. p.. and C. BEnhanced light extraction in GaInN light-emitting diode with pyramid reflector. [4] C.-K. Phys. crosstalk might be expected but was not visually observed. 86. and M. W. W and  are fixed for a particular fiber. May 2005. 2005. [8] H. Wang. May 2005. Pan. D. Nov. [13] Y.. and E. W. and M. vol.[ Phys.[ Microw. Choi. Zhang.. M. Sol. P. pp. Schubert. V. 9. Girkin. no. and M. K.-M. BFabrication and evaluation of GaN negative and bifocal microlenses. K. Nurmikko. May 2008.. Methods. Tansu. Y.. and J. no. Matioli. no. vol. Gu. [11] H. 28. Lett. J. A. Stat. 6. 41. no. 20. 2001. Jiang. V. F. 2003. Theoretical predictions show that the coupling efficiency can be higher by reducing the LED-fiber separation distance. pp. Phys. I. no. 92. 2005. C. Davitt. 10. Kennedy.-L. [12] H. [3] Y. designing systems with pixels of smaller dimension and fibers with larger core diameter can facilitate fiber coupling. 063 101. D. 2006.

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