Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Power and Energy Systems - (M.S.)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Hieu Pham Trung Nguyen

Second Advisor

Marek Sosnowski

Third Advisor

Leonid Tsybeskov

Abstract

III-nitride semiconductors have been intensively studied for optoelectronic devices, due to the superb advantages offered by this materials system. The direct energy bandgap III-nitride semiconductors can absorb or emit light efficiently over a broad spectrum, ranging from 0.65 eV (InN) to 6.4 eV (AlN), which encompasses from deep ultraviolet to near infrared spectrum. However, due to the lack of native substrates, conventional III-nitride planar heterostructures generally exhibit very high dislocation densities that severely limit the device performance and reliability. On the other hand, nanowire heterostructures can be grown on lattice mismatched substrates with drastically reduced dislocation densities, due to highly effective lateral stress relaxation. Nanowire light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with emission in the ultraviolet to visible wavelength range have recently been studied for applications in solid-state lighting, flat-panel displays, and solar-blind detectors. In this thesis, investigation of the systematic process flow of design and epitaxial growth of group III-nitride nanoscale heterostructures was done. Moreover, demonstration of phosphor-free nanowire white LEDs using InGaN/AlGaN nanowire heterostructures grown directly on Si(111) substrates by molecular beam epitaxy was made. Full-color emission across nearly the entire visible wavelength range was realized by controlling the In composition in the InGaN active region. Strong white-light emission was recorded for the unpackaged nanowire LEDs with an unprecedentedly high color rendering index of 98. Moreover, LEDs with the operating wavelengths in the ultraviolet (UV) spectra, with emission wavelength in the range of 280-320 nm (UV-B) or shorter wavelength hold tremendous promise for applications in phototherapy, skin treatments, high speed dissociation and high density optical recording. Current planar AlGaN based UV-B LEDs have relatively low quantum efficiency due to their high dislocation density resulted from the large lattice mismatch between the AlGaN and suitable substrates. In this study, associated with the achievement of visible LEDs, the development of high brightness AlGaN/GaN nanowire UV-LEDs via careful design and device fabrication was shown. Strong photoluminescence spectra were recorded from these UV-B LEDs. The emission peak can be tunable from 290 nm to 320 nm by varying the Al content in AlGaN active region which can be done by optimizing the growth condition including Al/Ga flux ratio and also the growth temperature. Such visible to UV-B nanowire LEDs are ideally suited for future smart lighting, full-color display, phototherapy and skin treatments applications.

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