Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Zinc Oxide Microwires Improve LED Performance

A light-emitting diode (LED) whose performance has been enhanced through the piezo-phototronic effect is studied in the laboratory of Regents professor Zhong Lin Wang. (Credit: Gary Meek)
A light-emitting diode (LED) whose performance has been enhanced through the piezo-phototronic effect is studied in the laboratory of Regents professor Zhong Lin Wang.

(Credit: Gary Meek)

Abstract:
Researchers have used zinc oxide microwires to significantly improve the efficiency at which gallium nitride light-emitting diodes (LED) convert electricity to ultraviolet light. The devices are believed to be the first LEDs whose performance has been enhanced by the creation of an electrical charge in a piezoelectric material using the piezo-phototronic effect.

Zinc Oxide Microwires Improve LED Performance

Atlanta, GA | Posted on October 31st, 2011

By applying mechanical strain to the microwires, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology created a piezoelectric potential in the wires, and that potential was used to tune the charge transport and enhance carrier injection in the LEDs. This control of an optoelectronic device with piezoelectric potential, known as piezo-phototronics, represents another example of how materials that have both piezoelectric and semiconducting properties can be controlled mechanically.

"By utilizing this effect, we can enhance the external efficiency of these devices by a factor of more than four times, up to eight percent," said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. "From a practical standpoint, this new effect could have many impacts for electro-optical processes - including improvements in the energy efficiency of lighting devices."

Details of the research were reported in the Sept. 14 issue of the journal Nano Letters. The research was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In addition to Wang, the research team mainly included Qing Yang, a visiting scientist at Georgia Tech from the Department of Optical Engineering at Zhejiang University in China.

Because of the polarization of ions in the crystals of piezoelectric materials such as zinc oxide, mechanically compressing or otherwise straining structures made from the materials creates a piezoelectric potential - an electrical charge. In the gallium nitride LEDs, the researchers used the local piezoelectric potential to tune the charge transport at the p-n junction.

The effect was to increase the rate at which electrons and holes recombined to generate photons, enhancing the external efficiency of the device through improved light emission and higher injection current. "The effect of the piezo potential on the transport behavior of charge carriers is significant due to its modification of the band structure at the junction," Wang explained.

The zinc oxide wires form the "n" component of a p-n junction, with the gallium nitride thin film providing the "p" component. Free carriers were trapped at this interface region in a channel created by the piezoelectric charge formed by compressing the wires.

Traditional LED designs use structures such as quantum wells to trap electrons and holes, which must remain close together long enough to recombine. The longer that electrons and holes can be retained in proximity to one another, the higher the efficiency of the LED device will ultimately be.

The devices produced by the Georgia Tech team increased their emission intensity by a factor of 17 and boosted injection current by a factor of four when compressive strain of 0.093 percent was applied to the zinc oxide wire. That improved conversion efficiency by as much as a factor of 4.25.

The LEDs fabricated by the research team produced emissions at ultraviolet wavelengths (about 390 nanometers), but Wang believes the wavelengths can be extended into the visible light range for a variety of optoelectronic devices. "These devices are important for today's focus on green and renewable energy technology," he said.

In the experimental devices, a single zinc oxide micro/nanowire LED was fabricated by manipulating a wire on a trenched substrate. A magnesium-doped gallium nitride film was grown epitaxially on a sapphire substrate by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, and was used to form a p-n junction with the zinc oxide wire.

A sapphire substrate was used as the cathode that was placed side-by-side with the gallium nitride substrate with a well-controlled gap. The wire was placed across the gap in close contact with the gallium nitride. Transparent polystyrene tape was used to cover the nanowire. A force was then applied to the tape by an alumina rod connected to a piezo nanopositioning stage, creating the strain in the wire.

The researchers then studied the change in light emission produced by varying the amount of strain in 20 different devices. Half of the devices showed enhanced efficiency, while the others - fabricated with the opposite orientation of the microwires - showed a decrease. This difference was due to the reversal in the sign of the piezo potential because of the switch of the microwire orientation from +c to -c.

High-efficiency ultraviolet emitters are needed for applications in chemical, biological, aerospace, military and medical technologies. Although the internal quantum efficiencies of these LEDs can be as high as 80 percent, the external efficiency for a conventional single p-n junction thin-film LED is currently only about three percent.

Beyond LEDs, Wang believes the approach pioneered in this study can be applied to other optical devices that are controlled by electrical fields.

"This opens up a new field of using the piezoelectric effect to tune opto-electronic devices," Wang said. "Improving the efficiency of LED lighting could ultimately be very important, bringing about significant energy savings because so much of the world's energy is used for lighting."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
John Toon, Manager
Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA
Phone: 404-894-6986
Web: gtresearchnews.gatech.edu
Twitter: @gtresearchnews

Abby Robinson
404-385-3364


Technical Contact:
Zhong Lin Wang
404-894-8008

Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Review of the recent advances of 2D nanomaterials in Lit-ion batteries March 15th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields: MIT researchers find a new way to make nanoscale measurements of fields in more than one dimension March 15th, 2019

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Exotic spiraling electrons discovered by physicists: Rutgers-led research could lead to advances in lighting and solar cells February 18th, 2019

Molecular Lego blocks: Chemical data mining boosts search for new organic semiconductors February 15th, 2019

CEA-Leti Combines Integrated Optics and Holography In Novel Lens-Free, Augmented Reality Technology: Approach Eliminates the Need for Optical Systems and Combiners in AR; Will Be Presented at SPIE Photonics West 2019 February 6th, 2019

Oxford Instruments Supplies ITRI with Plasma Etch Solutions for MicroLED Development January 22nd, 2019

Discoveries

Review of the recent advances of 2D nanomaterials in Lit-ion batteries March 15th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields: MIT researchers find a new way to make nanoscale measurements of fields in more than one dimension March 15th, 2019

Lightweight metal foams become bone hard and explosion proof after being nanocoated March 14th, 2019

Announcements

Review of the recent advances of 2D nanomaterials in Lit-ion batteries March 15th, 2019

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force Nanoscientists discover new mechanism to cleave cellulose effectively and in an environmentally friendly way March 15th, 2019

Exotic “second sound” phenomenon observed in pencil lead: At relatively balmy temperatures, heat behaves like sound when moving through graphite, study reports March 15th, 2019

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields: MIT researchers find a new way to make nanoscale measurements of fields in more than one dimension March 15th, 2019

Energy

Layering titanium oxide's different mineral forms for better solar cells: Kanazawa University-led researchers layer two different mineral forms of titanium oxide to improve electron flow at the negative electrode for better metal halide perovskite-type solar cells March 2nd, 2019

New blueprint for understanding, predicting and optimizing complex nanoparticles: Guidelines have the potential to transform the fields of optoelectronics, bio-imaging and energy harvesting March 1st, 2019

Avoiding the Crack of Doom: New imaging technique reveals how mechanical damage begins at the molecular scale February 25th, 2019

High-speed surveillance in solar cells catches recombination red-handed: Researchers at Osaka University introduce a new time-resolved microscopy method that allows them to monitor the trajectories of fast-moving charged particles at unprecedented rates February 21st, 2019

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Review of the recent advances of 2D nanomaterials in Lit-ion batteries March 15th, 2019

Now made in Japan – Asian battery manufacturers welcome highly conductive nanotube additive March 7th, 2019

New blueprint for understanding, predicting and optimizing complex nanoparticles: Guidelines have the potential to transform the fields of optoelectronics, bio-imaging and energy harvesting March 1st, 2019

Researchers create ultra-lightweight ceramic material that withstands extreme temperatures: UCLA-led team develops highly durable aerogel that could ultimately be an upgrade for insulation on spacecraft February 15th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project