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Published October 2000 | Published
Journal Article Open

Surface plasmon enhanced light-emitting diode


A method for enhancing the emission properties of light-emitting diodes, by coupling to surface plasmons, is analyzed both theoretically and experimentally. The analyzed structure consists of a semiconductor emitter layer thinner than λ/2 sandwiched between two metal films. If a periodic pattern is defined in the top semitransparent metal layer by lithography, it is possible to efficiently couple out the light emitted from the semiconductor and to simultaneously enhance the spontaneous emission rate. For the analyzed designs, we theoretically estimate extraction efficiencies as high as 37% and Purcell factors of up to 4.5. We have experimentally measured photoluminescence intensities of up to 46 times higher in fabricated structures compared to unprocessed wafers. The increased light emission is due to an increase in the efficiency and an increase in the pumping intensity resulting from trapping of pump photons within the microcavity.

Additional Information

© 2000 IEEE. Reprinted with permission. Manuscript received December 27, 1999; revised July 10, 2000. This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FOSR) under Contract AFS-5XF49620-1-044-SC. The authors would like to thank O. Painter for the help with measurements and T. Yoshie for many useful suggestions.

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