Light-Emitting Diodes

E. Fred Schubert

During the last four decades, technical progress in the field of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) has been breathtaking. State-of-the art LEDs are small, rugged, reliable, bright, and efficient. At this time, the success story of LEDs still is in full progress. Great technological advances are continuously being made and, as a result, LEDs play an increasingly important role in a myriad of applications. In contrast to many other light sources, LEDs have the potential of converting electricity to light with near-unit efficiency.

LEDs were discovered by accident in 1907 and the first paper on LEDs was published in the same year. LEDs became forgotten only to be re-discovered in the 1920s and again in the 1950s. In the 1960s, three research groups, one working at General Electric Corporation, one at MIT Lincoln Laboratories, and one at IBM Corporation, pursued the demonstration of the semiconductor laser. The first viable LEDs were by-products in this pursuit. LEDs have become devices in their own right and today possibly are the most versatile light sources available to humankind.

The first edition of this book was published in 2003. The second edition of the book is expanded by the discussion of additional technical areas related to LEDs including optical reflectors, the assessment of LED junction temperature, packaging, UV emitters, and LEDs used for general lighting applications. No different than the first edition, the second edition is dedicated to the technology and physics of LEDs. It reviews the electrical and optical fundamentals of LEDs, materials issues, as well as advanced device structures. Recent developments, particularly in the field of III-V nitrides, are also discussed. The book mostly discusses LEDs made from III-V semiconductors. However, much of the science and technology discussed is relevant to other solid-state light emitters such as group-IV, II-VI, and organic emitters. Several application areas of LEDs are discussed in detail, including illumination and communication applications.

Many colleagues and collaborators have provided information not readily available and have given valuable suggestions on the first and second editions of this book. In particular, I am deeply grateful to Enrico Bellotti (Boston University), Jaehee Cho (Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology), George Craford (LumiLeds Corp.), Thomas Gessmann (RPI), Nick Holonyak Jr. (University of Illinois), Jong Kyu Kim (RPI), Mike Krames (LumiLeds Corp.), Shawn Lin (RPI), Ralph Logan (retired, formerly with AT&T Bell Laboratories), Fred Long (Rutgers University), Paul Maruska (Crystal Photonics Corp.), Gerd Mueller (LumiLeds Corp.), Shuji Nakamura (University of California, Santa Barbara), N. Narendran (RPI), Yoshihiro Ohno (National Institute of Standards and Technology), Jacques Pankove (Astralux Corp.), Yongjo Park (Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology), Manfred Pilkuhn (retired, University of Stuttgart, Germany), Hans Rupprecht (retired, formerly with IBM Corp.), Michael Shur (RPI), Cheolsoo Sone (Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology), Klaus Streubel (Osram Opto Semiconductors Corp., Germany), Li-Wei Tu (National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan), Christian Wetzel (RPI), Jerry Woodall (Yale University), and Walter Yao (Advanced Micro Devices Corp.). I would also like to thank my current and former post-doctoral fellows and students for their many significant contributions to this book.

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