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GaN-on-Si blue/white LEDs: epitaxy, chip, and package

The dream of epitaxially integrating III-nitride semiconductors on large diameter silicon is being fulfilled through the joint R&D efforts of academia and industry, which is driven by the great potential of GaN-on-silicon technology in improving the efficiency yet at a much reduced manufacturing cost for solid state lighting and power electronics. It is very challenging to grow high quality GaN on Si substrates because of the huge mismatch in the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and the large mismatch in lattice constant between GaN and silicon, often causing a micro-crack network and a high density of threading dislocations (TDs) in the GaN film. Al-composition graded AlGaN/AlN buffer layers have been utilized to not only build up a compressive strain during the high temperature growth for compensating the tensile stress generated during the cool down, but also filter out the TDs to achieve crack-free high-quality n-GaN film on Si substrates, with an X-ray rocking curve linewidth below 300 arcsec for both (0002) and (10bar 12) diffractions. Upon the GaN-on-Si templates, prior to the deposition of p-AlGaN and p-GaN layers, high quality InGaN/GaN multiple quantum wells (MQWs) are overgrown with well-engineered V-defects intentionally incorporated to shield the TDs as non-radiative recombination centers and to enhance the hole injection into the MQWs through the via-like structures. The as-grown GaN-on-Si LED wafers are processed into vertical structure thin film LED chips with a reflective p-electrode and the N-face surface roughened after the removal of the epitaxial Si(111) substrates, to enhance the light extraction efficiency. We have commercialized GaN-on-Si LEDs with an average efficacy of 150–160 lm/W for 1mm2 LED chips at an injection current of 350 mA, which have passed the 10000-h LM80 reliability test. The as-produced GaN-on-Si LEDs featured with a single-side uniform emission and a nearly Lambertian distribution can adopt the wafer-level phosphor coating procedure, and are suitable for directional lighting, camera flash, streetlighting, automotive headlamps, and otherlighting applications.


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