ZnO PN Junctions for Highly-Efficient, Low-Cost Light Emitting Diodes

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By 2015, the US Department of Energy has set as a goal the development of advanced solid state lighting technologies that are more energy efficient, longer lasting, and more cost-effective than current technology. One approach that is most attractive is to utilize light-emitting diode technologies. Although III-V compound semiconductors have been the primary focus in pursuing this objective, ZnO-based materials present some distinct advantages that could yield success in meeting this objective. As with the nitrides, ZnO is a direct bandgap semiconductor whose gap energy (3.2 eV) can be tuned from 3.0 to 4 eV with substitution of Mg for ... continued below

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Norton, David P.; Pearton, Stephen & Ren, Fan September 30, 2007.

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By 2015, the US Department of Energy has set as a goal the development of advanced solid state lighting technologies that are more energy efficient, longer lasting, and more cost-effective than current technology. One approach that is most attractive is to utilize light-emitting diode technologies. Although III-V compound semiconductors have been the primary focus in pursuing this objective, ZnO-based materials present some distinct advantages that could yield success in meeting this objective. As with the nitrides, ZnO is a direct bandgap semiconductor whose gap energy (3.2 eV) can be tuned from 3.0 to 4 eV with substitution of Mg for higher bandgap, Cd for lower bandgap. ZnO has an exciton binding energy of 60 meV, which is larger than that for the nitrides, indicating that it should be a superior light emitting semiconductor. Furthermore, ZnO thin films can be deposited at temperatures on the order of 400-600 C, which is significantly lower than that for the nitrides and should lead to lower manufacturing costs. It has also been demonstrated that functional ZnO electronic devices can be fabricated on inexpensive substrates, such as glass. Therefore, for the large-area photonic application of solid state lighting, ZnO holds unique potential. A significant impediment to exploiting ZnO in light-emitting applications has been the absence of effective p-type carrier doping. However, the recent realization of acceptor-doped ZnO material overcomes this impediment, opening the door to ZnO light emitting diode development In this project, the synthesis and properties of ZnO-based pn junctions for light emitting diodes was investigated. The focus was on three issues most pertinent to realizing a ZnO-based solid state lighting technology, namely (1) achieving high p-type carrier concentrations in epitaxial and polycrystalline films, (2) realizing band edge emission from pn homojunctions, and (3) investigating pn heterojunction constructs that should yield efficient light emission. The project engaged established expertise at the University of Florida in ZnO film growth (D. Norton), device fabrication (F. Ren) and wide bandgap photonics (S. Pearton). It addressed p-type doping and junction formation in (Zn,Mg)O alloy thin films. The project employed pulsed laser deposition for film growth. The p-type dopant of interest was primarily phosphorus, given the recent results in our laboratory and elsewhere that this anions can yield p-type ZnO-based materials. The role of Zn interstitials, oxygen vacancies, and/or hydrogen complexes in forming compensating shallow donor levels imposes the need to simultaneously consider the role of in situ and post-growth processing conditions. Temperature-dependent Hall, Seebeck, C-V, and resistivity measurements was used to determine conduction mechanisms, carrier type, and doping. Temperature-dependent photoluminescence was used to determine the location of the acceptor level, injection efficiency, and optical properties of the structures. X-ray diffraction will used to characterize film crystallinity. Using these materials, the fabrication and characterization of (Zn,Mg)O pn homojunction and heterojunction devices was pursued. Electrical characterization of the junction capacitance and I-V behavior was used to extract junction profile and minority carrier lifetime. Electroluminescence from biased junctions was the primary property of interest.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT42271
  • DOI: 10.2172/923721 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923721
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc898429

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  • September 30, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Jan. 19, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

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Norton, David P.; Pearton, Stephen & Ren, Fan. ZnO PN Junctions for Highly-Efficient, Low-Cost Light Emitting Diodes, report, September 30, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc898429/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.