The ABC model of recombination reinterpreted: Impact on understanding carrier transport and efficiency droop in InGaN/GaN light emitting diodes

05 Mar 2018

The efficiency of light emitting diodes remains a topic of great contemporary interest due to their potential to reduce the amount of energy consumed in lighting. The current consensus is that electrons and holes distribute themselves through the emissive region by a drift-diffusion process which results in a highly non-uniform distribution of the light emission and can reduce efficiency. In this paper the measured variations in external quantum efficiency of a range of InGaN/GaN LEDs with different numbers of quantum wells are shown to compare closely with the predictions of a revised ABC model in which it is assumed that the electrically injected electrons and holes are uniformly distributed through the multi-quantum well region, or nearly so, and hence carrier recombination occurs equally in all the quantum wells. The implications of the reported results are that drift-diffusion plays a far lesser role in cross-well carrier transport than previously thought; that the dominant cause of efficiency droop is intrinsic to the quantum wells and that reductions in the density of non-radiative recombination centers in the MQW would enable the use of more QWs and thereby reduce Auger losses by spreading carriers more evenly across a wider emissive region.