Analysis of internal quantum efficiency and current injection efficiency in III-nitride light-emitting diodes

Hongping Zhao*, Guangyu Liu, Jing Zhang, Ronald A. Arif, Nelson Tansu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Current injection efficiency and internal quantum efficiency (IQE) in InGaN quantum well (QW) based light emitting diodes (LEDs) are investigated. The analysis is based on current continuity relation for drift and diffusion carrier transport across the QW-barrier systems. A self-consistent 6-band k p method is used to calculate the band structure for InGaN QW structure. Carrier-photon rate equations are utilized to describe radiative and non-radiative recombination in the QW and the barrier regions, carrier transport and capture time, and thermionic emission leading to carrier leakage out of the QW. Our model indicates that the IQE in the conventional 24-Å In 0.28Ga0.72N-GaN QW structure reaches its peak at low injection current density and reduces gradually with further increase in current due to the large thermionic carrier leakage. The efficiency droop phenomenon at high current density in III-nitride LEDs is thus consistent with the high-driving-current induced quenching in current injection efficiency predicted by our model. The effects of the monomolecular recombination coefficient, Auger recombination coefficient and GaN hole mobility on the current injection efficiency and IQE are studied. Structures combining InGaN QW with thin larger energy bandgap barriers such as AlxGa1-xN, lattice-matched AlxIn1-xN , and lattice-matched AlxIn yGa1-x-yN have been analyzed to improve current injection efficiency and thus minimize droop at high current injection in III-nitride LEDs. Effect of the thickness of the larger energy bandgap barriers (AlGaN, AlInN and AlInGaN) on injection efficiency and IQE are investigated. The use of thin AlGaN barriers shows slight reduction of quenching of the injection efficiency as the current density increases. The use of thin lattice-matched AlInN or AlInGaN barriers shows significant suppression of efficiency-droop in nitride LEDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6478814
Pages (from-to)212-225
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/OSA Journal of Display Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 4 2013


  • Current injection efficiency
  • III-nitride
  • InGaN QWs
  • efficiency droop
  • internal quantum efficiency
  • light-emitting diodes (LEDs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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