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Keywords:

  • Light-emitting diode;
  • efficiency droop;
  • compound semiconductor;
  • carrier asymmetry

Abstract

Efficiency droop, i.e. the loss of efficiency at high operating current, afflicts nitride-based light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The droop phenomenon is currently the subject of intense research, as it retards the advancement of solid-state lighting which is just starting to supplant fluorescent as well as incandescent lighting. Although the technical community does not yet have consented to a single cause of droop, this article provides a summary of the present state of droop research, reviews currently discussed droop mechanisms, and presents a recently developed theoretical model for the efficiency droop. In the theoretical model, carrier leakage out of the active region caused by the asymmetry of the pn junction, specifically the disparity between electron and hole concentrations and mobilities, is discussed in detail. The model is in agreement with the droop's key behaviors not only for GaInN LEDs but also for AlGaInP LEDs.