This paper analyses the thermally-activated failure mechanisms of GaN LED test-structures related with the presence of a hydrogen rich SiN passivation layer, by comparing the electrical and optical behaviour of samples with and without passivation during thermal stress. The analysis was carried out by means of electroluminescence, cathodoluminescence, emission microscopy and current–voltage measurements. Thermal treatment induced degradation only on the samples with passivation: identified degradation modes were an efficiency decrease exponential in time, emission crowding, and a forward voltage increase. On the other side, thermal treatment did not change the behaviour of the LEDs without passivation. An interpretation for the degradation of the passivated samples is the following: as a consequence of passivation deposition, a considerable amount of hydrogen is incorporated in the passivation layer. Heating at 250 ∘C allows this hydrogen to interact with the LED surface, thus worsening the transport properties of p-GaN and of the p-ohmic contact, and then the current and emission distribution, inducing the observed degradation and emission crowding. The activation energy of the degradation process was found to be equal to 1.3 eV. Comparison between spectral electroluminescence and cathodoluminescence measurements shows how the mechanism mentioned above is not the only ageing cause and the thermal worsening of QW confinement and/or the creation of nonradiative centers possibly contribute to the LED damage.
High-temperature failure of GaN LEDs related with passivation / M. Meneghini; L. Trevisanello; G. Meneghesso; E. Zanoni; F. RossiI; M. Pavesi; U. Zehnder; U. Strauss. - In: SUPERLATTICES AND MICROSTRUCTURES. - ISSN 0749-6036. - 40:4-6(2006), pp. 405-411. [10.1016/j.spmi.2006.09.028]
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