Optical polarization from AlGaN quantum well (QW) is crucial for realizing high-efficiency deep-ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (LEDs) because it determines the light emission patterns and light extraction mechanism of the devices. As the Al-content of AlGaN QW increases, the valence bands order changes and consequently the light polarization switches from transverse-electric (TE) to transverse-magnetic (TM) owing to the different sign and the value of the crystal field splitting energy between AlN (-169meV) and GaN (10meV). Several groups have reported that the ordering of the bands and the TE/TM crossover Al-content could be influenced by the strain state and the quantum confinement from the AlGaN QW system. In this work, we investigate the influence of QW thickness on the optical polarization switching point from AlGaN QW with AlN barriers by using 6-band k∙p model. The result presents a decreasing trend of the critical Al-content where the topmost valence band switches from heave hole (HH) to crystal field spilt-off (CH) with increasing QW thicknesses due to the internal electric field and the strain state from the AlGaN QW. Instead, the TE- and TM-polarized spontaneous emission rates switching Al-content rises first and falls later because of joint consequence of the band mixing effect and the Quantum Confined Stark Effect. The reported optical polarization from AlGaN QW emitters in the UV spectral range is assessed in this work and the tendency of the polarization switching point shows great consistency with the theoretical results, which deepens the understanding of the physics from AlGaN QW UV LEDs.
Cheng Liu and Jing Zhang, "Effect of quantum-well thickness on the optical polarization of AlGaN-based ultraviolet light-emitting diodes," Proc. SPIE 10526, Physics and Simulation of Optoelectronic Devices XXVI, 105261D (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 01, 2018; Published: 23 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290341.
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