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Light emitting diodes are a typical pn-junction device used under a forward bias. The basic operating mechanisms are based on the electrical and optical properties of pn-junctions and of semiconductor materials. Depending on the semiconductor material used in the light emitting layer (active layer), the wavelength of the emitted light can be anywhere within the range from visible to infrared. Most commercially available LEDs are made from III-V compound semiconductors. Some II-V compound semiconductors such as ZnS and ZnSe are used in a few LEDs emitting visible light, though these materials are not used frequently because of the difficulty of pn-junction formation. LEDs have been widely used in various kinds of equipment and systems. LEDs composed of combination of InGaAsP and InP cover the wavelengths from 1300 to 1550 nm band and are the ones usually used in optical fiber communication systems. A combination of GaAs and AlGaAs or a combination of different compositions of AlGaAs has been used to make LEDs emitting in the 780 to 900 nm band, and those LEDs have been used in optical fiber communications systems, data links, remote controllers, and so forth. For display and indicator applications, LEDs emitting from blue to red light are usually applied. In fiber optics communications, LEDs are used for low cost, high reliability sources typically operating with grade index multimode fibers at data rates up to 622Mp/s. For short fiber lengths they can be used with step index fibers. The emission wavelength will be at the band gap of active regions in the LEDs; different alloys and materials have different band gaps. For medium range distances up to ~10 km (limited by modal dispersion) LEDs of InxGayAs1-xP1-y grown on InP and operating at lambda 1.3 micrometer offer low cost high reliability transmitters. For short distances up to 2 km, GaAs LEDs operating at lambda 850 nanometers are used.
As in a normal diode LED consists of a chip of semi conductor material doped with impurities to create pn junction.As in other words current flows easily from p side, or anode, to n side, or cathode, but not in the reverse direction. Charge carriers electrons and holes flow into the junction from electrodes with different voltages. When an electron meets hole, it falls into a lower energy level, and releases energy in the form of photon. The wavelength of the light emitted and therefore its color depends on the band gap energy of the material forming the pn junction. In silicon or germanium diodes, the electrons and holes recombine by a non radioactive transition which produces no optical emission, because these are indirect band gap materials. The materials used in LEDs have a direct band gap energies corresponding to near infrared, visible, or near ultraviolet light. LED development began with infrared and red devices made with gallium arsenide. Advances in material science have made possible the production of devices with ever shorter wavelengths, producing light in variety of colors.
LEDs are usually built on n type substrate. Hence this device has higher external power efficiency than the planer LED. The diameter of the dome is chosen to maximize the amount of internal emission reaching the surface within the critical angle of the GaAs-air interface. subject to much research and development. Many commercial LEDs. Most materials used for LED production have very high refractive indices. A hemisphere of n type GaAs is formed around a diffused p type region. and therefore the radiance is low. FIGURE: STRUCTURE OF DOME LED . Therefore Light extraction in LEDs is an important aspect of LED production. especially GaN/InGaN. 3. while less common. 3. occur as well. the geometry of the structure is such that the dome must be far larger than the active recombination area. only a limited amount of light escapes the structure due to total internal reflection.2 DOME LED The structure of a dome LED is shown in the figure.1 PLANER LED The planer LED is the simplest of the structures that are available and fabricated by either the liquid or vapour phase epitaxial processes over the whole surface of a GaAs substrate. This means that much light will be reflected back into the material at the material/air surface interface. This involves a p type diffusion into n type substrate in order to create the junction shown in the figure. with an electrode attached to the p type layer deposited on its surface. LED STRUCTURES There are five major types of LED structure and although two have found extensive use in optical fiber communications a third is becoming of interest. P type substrates. also use sapphire substrate. which gives a greater effective emission area and thus reduces the radiance. Forward current flow through the junction gives Lambertian spontaneous and the device emits light from all surfaces. However. FIGURE: STRUCTURE OF PLANER LED 3. However.
75◦C/min were employed. 3.The planer and the dome LEDs.3 EDGE EMITTER LED Another basic high radiance structure currently used in optical fiber communications is the edge emitter LED.9As.1 DIODE STRUCTURE The diodes were deposited on (100)-oriented Si-doped (~1 X 1018 cm-3) GaAs substrates by a thin-solution liquid phase epitaxial technique described previously. 3. a GaAs substrate layer. TV channel changes and industrial counting.55As layer ( n~ 1 X 1017 cm-3 ) . I all five layers are grown: a Te doped (n~ 1 X 1018 cm-3 ). an Sn doped Al0. The diode consists of a symmetrical double heterojunction.3. an undoped active region of either GaAs or Alo.1Ga0.45Ga0. find more application as cheap plastic encapsulated visible devices for use in such areas as intruder alarms. The device has a similar geometry to a conventional contact stripe injection laser. a p type . A growth temperature between 800 and 860°C and a cooling rate of 0.
The nonlinear behavior of this diode near the origin is due to leakage in the metal reflective coating.55As layer doped with Ge with a density of ~ 5 X 1017 cm-3 and finally GaAs layer doped with Ge to a density of 1 X 1019 cm-3. Thus.Al0. 3. θT. the angular beam width at the half-maximum point in the direction perpendicular to the junction plane. All the layers except the active region are 3-4 micrometers thick. 3.45Ga0. The system has a resolution of 1˚ and signal to noise ratio greater than 20 dB.3. . more of the internally generated light is able to be externally extracted than from diodes with the usual thicker active region.2 DIODE CHARACTERISTICS Far field distributions were measured from the optical system. The active region is about 0. black wax was applied to these surfaces before measurement.55 micrometers thick. with relatively high coupling efficiency. Because of the high radiance of this source large amounts of power can be coupled into small-diameter low-NA fibers.3. but in general these diodes exhibit linear output versus diode characteristics. To prevent scattering from light emitted from the sides and back of these edge-emitting LED's. The deviation from linearity at the higher drive currents is due to the onset of lasing. these new devices have relatively high emission quantum efficiency.3 POWER OUTPUT AND RADIANCE Because in these new diodes the light output is directed toward the emitting facet in the plane perpendicular to the junction. The radiated beams are characterized by two parameters. θ‖‖. ~ 1% percent from a single emitting edge. and the beam width in the plane of the junction.
4 SURFACE EMITTING LED A method for obtaining high radiance is to restrict the emission to a small active region within the device. These structures have low thermal impedance in the active region allowing high current densities and giving high radiance emission into the optical fiber. The structure of a high radiance etched well DH surface emitter for 0. The power coupled depends on many factors including the alignment between the emission area and the fiber. the SLED pattern and the medium between the emitting area and the fiber. Furthermore. The spectral width and beam angle of SLDs are narrower than that of conventional LEDs and wider than Contact 50 micrometer diameter SiO2 Metallization P+ GaAs p-GaAs p-AlGaAs Primary light emitting region . This type of surface LED is now widely employed within optical fiber communication. SLDs emit light that consists of amplified spontaneous emissions. 3. and physically to accommodate the filter.8 to 0. The emission from the active layer is essentially isotropic.5 SUPERLUMINESCENT DIODES Super luminescence occurs when the spontaneous emissions of an ELED experience gain due to higher injected currents and reflections from facets. Although the output is not fully coherent.9 micrometer is shown in the figure.3. considerable advantage may be obtained by employing DH structures giving increased efficiency from electrical and optical confinement as well as less absorption of the emitted radiation. and the reflection coefficient at the back crystal face is high giving good forward radiance. The technique pioneered by Burrus and Dawson with homostructure devices was to use an etched well in a GaAs substrate in order to prevent heavy absorption of the emitted radiation. The internal absorption of in the device is very low due to the larger band gap confining layers. Super luminescent diodes (SLDs) are differentiated from both conventional LEDs and LDs. although the external emission distribution may be considered Lambertian with a beam width of 120 ̊ due to refraction from high to low refractive index at the GaAs fiber interface.
phosphors of different colors can be employed. An SLD is. A fraction of the blue light undergoes the Stokes shift being transformed from shorter wavelengths to longer. Philips Lumileds' patented conformal coating process addresses the issue of varying phosphor thickness. the resultant LEDs are called phosphorbased white LEDs. much effort is being spent on optimizing these devices to higher light output and higher operation temperatures. Stripe metallic contact SiO2 Sn-Ni contact Incoherent output beam FIGURE: AlGaAs contract stripe SLD 4. The greatest barrier to high efficiency is the seemingly unavoidable Stokes energy loss. For instance.While SLDs operate like ELEDs at low current levels. The design and production of a light source or light fixture using a monochrome emitter with phosphor conversion is simpler and cheaper than a complex RGB system. However. SLDs are essentially highly optimized ELEDs. the emitted spectrum is broadened. SLDs are similar in geometry to lasers but have no built-in optical feedback mechanism required by laser diodes for stimulated emission to achieve lasing. Phosphor based LEDs have a lower efficiency than normal LEDs due to the heat loss from the Stokes shift and also other phosphor-related degradation issues.that of LDs. giving the white LEDs a more homogeneous white light. a combination of a laser and an ELED. PHOSPHOR BASED LED contact This method involves coating an LED of one color (mostly blue LED made of InGaN) with phosphor of different colors to form white light. Depending on the color of the original LED. and the majority of high intensity white LEDs presently on the market are manufactured using phosphor light conversion. the efficiency can be raised by adapting better package design or by using a more suitable type of phosphor. the phosphor method is still the most popular method for making high intensity white LEDs. SLDs have structural features similar to those of ELEDs that suppress the lasing action by reducing the reflectivity of the facets. Optical gain resulting from the higher injection currents causes the super linear power increase and narrowing of the spectral width. effectively raising the color rendering index (CRI) value of a given LED. However. With development . in essence. If several phosphor layers of distinct colors are applied. their output power increases super linearly and the spectral width narrows at high currents.
Active-matrix OLEDs (AMOLED) require a thin-film transistor backplane to switch each individual pixel on or off. Generally. so more energy is converted to heat. 5. This method is less efficient than the blue LED with YAG: Ce phosphor. Thus. both methods offer comparable brightness. Al). . as the Stokes shift is larger. Similarly.ongoing. an OLED screen can achieve a higher contrast ratio than an LCD screen using either cold cathode fluorescent lamps or the more recently developed LED backlight. and can make higher resolution and larger size displays possible.White LEDs can also be made by coating near ultraviolet (NUV) emitting LEDs with a mixture of high efficiency europium-based red and blue emitting phosphors plus green emitting copper and aluminium doped zinc sulfide (ZnS:Cu. it can display deep black levels and can also be thinner and lighter than established liquid crystal displays. . A concern is that UV light may leak from a malfunctioning light source and cause harm to human eyes or skin. which has a slightly different mode of operation. Due to the higher radioactive output of the ultraviolet LEDs than of the blue ones. This is a method analogous to the way fluorescent lamps work. A common yellow phosphor material is cerium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Ce3+:YAG). in low ambient light conditions such as dark rooms. There are two main families of OLEDs: those based upon small molecules and those employing polymers. The phosphor based white LEDs encapsulate InGaN blue LEDs inside phosphor coated epoxy. Adding mobile ions to an OLED creates a Light-emitting Electrochemical Cell or LEC. OLED displays can use either passive-matrix (PMOLED) or active-matrix addressing schemes. at least one of these electrodes is transparent. This layer of organic semiconductor material is situated between two electrodes. An OLED display functions without a backlight. but yields light with better spectral characteristics. which render color better. the efficiency of phosphor based LEDs generally rises with each new product announcement. ORGANIC LEDs An organic light emitting diode (OLED) is a light-emitting diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compounds which emit light in response to an electric current.
GaAs was developed in the early 1960s as an infrared emitter with a wavelength of 910 nm and an efficiency of 1 percent. Inverted OLED: In contrast to a conventional OLED.4 we have direct band gap. The resulting efficiency increased substantially. the drop in quantum efficiency is . in which the anode is placed on the substrate. Three nitrogen doped ternary alloys of GaAsP are commercially very important for red.1 THE GaAa1-xPx SYSTEM The most widely used alloy for LEDs is the ternary GaAs1-xPx system. other display technologies have the RGB (and RGBW) pixels mapped next to each other decreasing potential resolution. For x≤ 0. One other drawback is caused by the low absorption coefficient of Si detectors at wavelength 940 nm. With increasing band gap or decreasing wavelength. However the recombination process is very slow resulting in rise and fall times. This technology can be used in Head-up displays.5. TOLEDs can greatly improve contrast. and greatly reducing pixel gap. making it much easier to view displays in bright sunlight. Top-emitting OLEDs are better suited for active-matrix applications as they can be more easily integrated with a nontransparent transistor backplane. Currently. and blue sub-pixels on top of one another instead of next to one another. For x=0 we have GaAs and for x=1 we have GaP. Nova led’s OLED panel presented in Finetech Japan 2010 boasts a transparency of 60-70%. 6.3 alloy with wavelength of 700nm became important in the mid 1970s as the light source in applications using integrated photo detectors.1 DEVICE ARCHITECTURE Bottom or top emission: Bottom emission devices use a transparent or semi-transparent bottom electrode to get the light through a transparent substrate. an Inverted OLED uses a bottom cathode that can be connected to the drain end of an n-channel TFT especially for the low cost amorphous silicon TFT backplane useful in the manufacturing of AMOLED displays.65 has an efficiency in the range of 2 to 3 Im/A. leading to substantial increase in gamut and color depth. The red source with x=0. MATERIAL SYSTEMS 6. The system is best described by the composition parameter x. Stacked OLEDs use a pixel architecture that stacks the red. Transparent OLEDs use transparent or semi-transparent contacts on both sides of the device to create displays that can be made to be both top and bottom emitting (transparent). It has 3 to 5 times the quantum efficiency of the x=0. The x=0. orange and yellow. Top emission devices use a transparent or semi-transparent top electrode emitting light directly. smart windows or augmented reality applications. and in the range of 5-10 percent depending on the configuration. The emitter was soon followed by a silicon based variety. green. including its two binary components GaAs and GaP.4 alloy but has a lower luminous efficiency because of much reduced eye sensitivity at wavelength 700 nm.
Depending on layer thickness. Carrier contaminant reduces the movement of injected carriers in a direction perpendicular to the junction. This system as one very big significant advantage over GaAsP system. around 3 percent.3 THE AlInGaP SYSTEM The AlInGaP system has most of the advantages of the AlGaAs system with additional advantage that it has a higher energy direct energy gap of 2. In other words.5 to 2 times advantage in speed.. This feature allows the growth of very abrupt hetero-junctions.e. Another benefit is reduced absorption and improved extraction efficiency. 6. i. these devices have efficiencies of 5 to 20 percent. every alloy composition can be directly grown on any other alloy composition without the need of transition layers. Both compositions exist in single and double hetero-junctions variations.2 THE AlxGa1-xAs SYSTEM The AlxGa1-xAs material system as a direct band gap for 0 ≤ x ≤ 0. A variation optimized for speed is widely used for optical communications using plastic fiber.38. substrate. 6. Thus carrier density can be increased beyond the diffusion limited levels.3 eV that corresponds to green emission at 540 nm. ZnO doped GaP is an interesting material. This alloy is becoming the workhouse for all infrared applications demanding power and speed. . The major application for these red LEDs is the light flux intensive applications. depending on layer thickness and contact area. Another problem of GaP: ZnO is saturation.06 alloy as a double heterostructure.5 to 3 times again.compensated by increase in eye sensitivity. but has not produced efficient surface emitting LEDs. The quantum efficiency of such chips is relatively high. Of practical significance are two compositions: x = 0. abrupt transitions in compositions and band gap. The quantum efficiency peaks at 700 nm but the luminous efficiency peaks at 640 nm. such as message panels and automotive spotlights. the entire alloy range from x= 0 to x=1 can be lattice matched to GaAs. These hetero-junctions add one important property not available in GaAsP system: carrier contaminant. The single hetero-structure on absorbing substrate has an efficiency of around 4 Im/A. The highest product of quantum efficiency and eye response is achieved at x = 0. The deep ZnO electron trap causes very slow excitation recombination.06 and x = 0. The equivalent double hetero-structure is in the 6 to 8 Im/A range. Various AlInGaP device structures have been grown. In other words most of the photons are emitted at wavelengths with low eye sensitivity.38 and lambda 650 nm. A simple DH structure with an AlInGaP active layer surrounded by higher band gap AlInGaP confining layers has been effective for injection lasers. The best comprise for efficiency and speed is the x = 0. and contact area. The double heterojunctions usually have 1.38. resulting in a practical wavelength independent luminous efficiency for the range of 635 to 585 nm. The x = 0. This results in increased internal quantum efficiency and higher speed. Chips with transparent substrate have an additional efficiency improvement of 1. However the line width is quite broad.38 alloy is optimized for applications in visible spectrum.
Typical commercially available LEDs at 850 nm for fiber optic applications have external half-angles of ~25 ̊ without a lens and 10 ̊ with a lens.AlInGaP device with 45 micrometer thick GaP window layers have achieved external quantum efficiency exceeding 5 percent in the red and yellow regions of the emission spectrum. Integrated semiconductor domes require advanced semi conductor fabrication technology. or it can be a DBR mirror grown within the semiconductor structure. This is more than twice as bright as devices that have thinner AlGaAs window layers. improved S-LED performance has been obtained by using resonant cavities to reduce the line-width and increase the bandwidth that can transmitted through fibers. For any of these geometries. the 620 nm (red/orange) AlInGaP devices have much higher luminous efficiency than 650 nm AlGaAs LEDs. the finite size of the emitting aperture and resulting aberrations will be the limiting consideration. The quantum efficiency of AlInGaP is also better than all the other technologies except for the highest performance AlGaAs devices operating at 650 nm. This mirror can be either metal or a dielectric stack at the air-semiconductor interface. Current must be confined to the surface area of emission. which is typically 25 to 75 µm in diameter. In GaAs diodes the substrate is absorptive. COUPLING FROM LEDs INTO FIBER The coupling efficiency can be increased in a variety of ways. The LED can be encapsulated in materials such as plastic or epoxy. Re-growth using npn blocking layers or semi-insulating material in the surrounding areas has the advantage of reducing thermal heating. Additional improvement can be achieved by lensing the pigtailed fiber to increase its acceptance angle. An alternative is to place a micro-lens between the LED and the fiber. but have been proven effective. improvement in efficiency of as much as a factor of two can be obtained if a mirror is provided to reflect backward-emitted light forward. suitable for butt-coupling to multimode fiber. These devices have integral mirrors grown above and below the active region that serve to resonate the spontaneous emission. but etching a well and inserting a fiber can serve to collect backside emission.5.3 of the semi-conductor. Green emitting AlInGaP devices have also been grown which are much brighter than the conventional GaP and GaP: N green emitters. 7. This is done by constructing the flow of injection current by mesa etching or by using an oxide-defined electrode. Because the refractive index of encapsulating plastic is < 1. only a semiconductor dome can entirely eliminate total internal reflection. Because of the eye sensitivity variations. Recently. In general. Then the output cone angle will depend on the design of this encapsulating lens. compared to 3. the user must know both the area of the emitting aperture and the angular divergence in order to optimize coupling efficiency into a fiber. Perhaps the most effective geometry for capturing light is the integrated domed surface fabricated directly on the back side of an InP LED. . with direct attachment to a focusing lens.
APPLICATIONS OF LEDs .FIGURE: Typical geometries for coupling from LEDs into fiber. (a) Hemisphere lens attached with encapsulating plastic (b) Lensed fiber tip (c) Micro-lens aligned through use of an etched well (d) Spherical semiconductor surface formed on the substrate side of the LED 8.
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