Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rensselaer Researchers Identify Cause of LED “Efficiency Droop”

31.07.2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have identified the mechanism behind a plague of LED light bulbs: a flaw called “efficiency droop” that causes LEDs to lose up to 20 percent of their efficiency as they are subjected to greater electrical currents.

Efficiency droop, first reported in 1999, has been a key obstacle in the development of LED lighting for situations, like household lighting, that call for economical sources of versatile and bright light.

In a paper recently published in Applied Physics Letters, the researchers identify a phenomena known as “electron leakage” as the culprit. The research offers the first comprehensive model for the mechanism behind efficiency droop, and may lead to new technologies to solve the problem, said E. Fred Schubert, the Wellfleet Senior Constellation Professor of Future Chips at Rensselaer, founding director of the university’s National Science Foundation-funded Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, and senior author on the study.

“In the past, researchers and LED manufacturers have made progress in reducing efficiency droop, but some of the progress was made without understanding what causes the droop,” said Schubert. “I think now we have a better understanding of what causes the droop and this opens up specific strategies to address it.”

Light-emitting diodes take advantage of the fact that high-energy electrons emit photons, i.e. particles of light, as they move from a higher to a lower energy level. The light-emitting diode is constructed of three sections: an “n-type” section of crystal that is loaded with negatively charged electrons; a p-type section of crystal that contains many positively charged “holes;” and a section in between the two called the “quantum well” or “active region.”

David Meyaard, first author on the study and a doctoral student in electrical engineering, explains that electrons are injected into the active region from the n-type material as holes are injected into the active region from the p-type material. The electrons and holes move in opposite directions and, if they meet in the active region, they recombine, at which point the electron moves to a lower state of energy and emits a photon of light. Unfortunately, researchers have noticed that as more current is applied, LEDs lose efficiency, producing proportionally less light as the current is increased.

Meyaard said the team’s research shows that, under the “high current regime,” an electric field develops within the p-type region of the diode, allowing electrons to escape the active region where they would otherwise recombine with holes and emit photons of light. This phenomenon, known as “electron leakage,” was first proposed more than five years ago, but Meyaard said the team’s research is the first incontrovertible evidence that it is the cause behind efficiency droop. Meyaard said the team identified the electric field as it began to build up, and showed that, after a sufficiently strong field is built up, the electrons escape out of the active region.

“We measure excellent correlation between the onset of field-buildup and the onset of droop,” said Meyaard. “This is clear evidence that the mechanism is electron leakage, and we can describe it quantitatively. For example, in one key result reported in the paper, we show the onset of high injection and the onset of droop and you can see that they are very nicely correlated. And that was just not possible in the past because there was really no theoretical model that described how electron leakage really works.”

Schubert said their work shows that because electrons have a greater “mobility” than holes, the diode is made from disparate types of carriers.

“If the holes and the electrons had similar properties, there is a symmetry; both would meet in the middle, where the quantum well is, and there they recombine,” said Schubert. “What we have instead is a material system where the electrons are much more mobile than the holes. And because they are very mobile, they diffuse more easily, they also react more easily to an electric field. Because of that asymmetry, or disparity, we have a propensity of the electrons to ‘shoot over’ and to be extracted from the quantum well. And so they don’t meet the hole in the active region and so they don’t emit light.”

Meyaard and Schubert said the team has now turned their attention to developing a new structure for LEDs, based on the model, which they look forward to introducing.

The paper, published in the June 27 edition of Applied Physics Letters, is titled “Identifying the cause of the efficiency droop in GaInN light-emitting diodes by correlating the onset of high injection with the onset of the efficiency droop.”

Contact: Mary L. Martialay
Phone: (518) 276-2146
E-mail: martim12@rpi.edu

Mary Martialay | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Taking a spin on plasma space tornadoes with NASA observations
20.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

SYSTEMS INTEGRATION 2018 in Switzerland focuses on building blocks for industrial digitalization

20.11.2017 | Trade Fair News

Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>