Degradation of High-Power UVC Light-Emitting Diodes via Emission-Activated Nitrogen Vacancy Generation

Chia Yen Huang*, Wen Hsuan Hsieh, Teng Li Shao, Chang Hsien Wu, Tien Chang Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We reported an unexpected power degradation mechanism in high-power ultraviolet C (UVC) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) grown on high-quality AlN templates. The LED underwent an ${I}$ = 350 mA stress for 250 h. After stress, the output power under ${I}$ = 350 mA degraded by 65%. Although the ${I}$ - ${V}$ curve and ${C}$ - ${V}$ curve measurements suggested a strong carrier leakage, the electroluminescence (EL) spectrum did not suggest any significant crystal quality degradation in the active region. Cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) mapping revealed new defects nucleated and propagated from the p-GaN/electron blocking layer (EBL) interface. An observable nitrogen loss was introduced to the p-GaN contact layer under EDS. We inferred that the nitrogen desorption was activated by the UVC photon emitted from the active region. The nitrogen vacancies created a continuous leakage path from the active region to the p-electrode via various trap-assisted transport mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3166-3171
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electron Devices
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • AlGaN
  • degradation
  • GaN
  • light-emitting diode (LED)
  • trap-assisted tunneling (TAT) ultraviolet C (UVC)


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