Electroluminescent cooling (ELC) of light–emitting diodes (LEDs) at high powers is yet to be demonstrated. Earlier studies of photoluminescent cooling (PLC) suggested that temperature strongly affects the light emission efficiency and therefore it is useful to explore the temperature range below room temperature (RT) where ELC might be easier to observe. With that purpose in mind, we electrically characterised three different sized (0.2, 0.5 and 1 mm diameter) double–diode structure (DDS) devices, consisting of a coupled LED and photodiode (PD), at temperatures ranging from 100 K to 325 K to investigate how the temperature affects the efficiency of the structures in practice. We found that, for the studied devices, the coupling quantum efficiency (CQE) as well as the overall efficiency indeed increase when temperature decreases and reach their highest values at temperatures below room temperature.
The cooling of a light emitting diode (LED) by photons carrying out more energy than was used to electrically bias the device, has been predicted decades ago.<sup>1, 2</sup> While this effect, known as electroluminescent cooling (ELC), may allow e.g. fabricating thermophotonic heat pumps (THP) providing higher efficiencies than the existing solid state coolers,<sup>3</sup> ELC at powers sufficient for practical applications is still not demonstrated. To study high-power ELC we use double diode structures (DDSs), which consist of a double heterojunction (DHJ) LED and a photodiode (PD) grown within a single technological process and, thus, enclosed in a cavity with a homogeneous refractive index.<sup>4, 5</sup> The presence of the PD in the structure allows to more directly probe the efficiency of the LED, without the need for light extraction from the system, reducing undesirable losses. Our analysis of experimentally measured I − V curves for both the LED and the PD suggests that the local efficiency of the high-performance LEDs we have fabricated is approximately 110%, exceeding unity over a wide range of injection current densities of up to about 100A/cm<sup>2</sup> . At present the efficiency of the full DDS, however, still falls short of unity, not allowing direct evidence of the extraction of thermal energy from the LED. Here we review our previous studies of DDS for high-power EL cooling and discuss in more detail the remaining bottlenecks for demonstrating high-power ELC in the DDS context: the LED surface states, resistive and photodetection losses. In particular we report our first surface passivation measurements. Further optimization therefore mainly involves reducing the influence of the surface states, e.g. using more efficient surface passivation techniques and optimizing the PD. This combined with the optimization of the DDS layer thicknesses and contact metallization schemes is expected to finally allow purely experimental observation of high-power ELC.
Optical cooling of semiconductors has recently been demonstrated both for optically pumped CdS nanobelts and for electrically injected GaInAsSb LEDs at very low powers. To enable cooling at larger power and to understand and overcome the main obstacles in optical cooling of conventional semiconductor structures, we study thermophotonic (TPX) heat transport in cavity coupled light emitters. Our structures consist of a double heterojunction (DHJ) LED with a GaAs active layer and a corresponding DHJ or a p-n-homojunction photodiode, enclosed within a single semiconductor cavity to eliminate the light extraction challenges. Our presently studied double diode structures (DDS) use GaInP barriers around the GaAs active layer instead of the AlGaAs barriers used in our previous structures. We characterize our updated double diode structures by four point probe IV- measurements and measure how the material modifications affect the recombination parameters and coupling quantum efficiencies in the structures. The coupling quantum efficiency of the new devices with InGaP barrier layers is found to be approximately 10 % larger than for the structures with AlGaAs barriers at the point of maximum efficiency.
Developing optical cooling technologies requires access to reliable efficiency measurement techniques and ability to detect spatial variations in the efficiency and light emission of the devices. We investigate the possibility to combine the calorimetric efficiency measurement principles with lock-in thermography (LIT) and conventional luminescence microscopy to enable spatially resolved measurement of the efficiency, current spreading and local device heating of double diode structures (DDS) serving as test vessels for developing thermophotonic cooling devices. Our approach enables spatially resolved characterization and localization of the losses of the double diode structures as well as other light emitting semiconductor devices. In particular, the approach may allow directly observing effects like current crowding and surface recombination on the light emission and heating of the DDS devices.