(19)
(11)EP 0 415 440 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.10.1993 Bulletin 1993/41

(21)Application number: 90116757.7

(22)Date of filing:  31.08.1990
(51)Int. Cl.5G01J 1/42

(54)

Apparatus for measuring light output from semiconductor light emitting element

Gerät zum Messen der Lichtleistung eines lichtemittierenden Halbleiterelements

Appareil pour mesurer le flux lumineux d'un élément semi-conducteur émittant de la lumière


(84)Designated Contracting States:
DE FR GB

(30)Priority: 31.08.1989 JP 222957/89

(43)Date of publication of application:
06.03.1991 Bulletin 1991/10

(73)Proprietor: KABUSHIKI KAISHA TOSHIBA
Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 210 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • Tanaka, Toshiaki, c/o Intellectual Property Div.
    Minato-ku, Tokyo 105 (JP)

(74)Representative: Lehn, Werner, Dipl.-Ing. et al
Hoffmann Eitle, Patent- und Rechtsanwälte, Postfach 81 04 20
81904 München
81904 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
DD-A- 118 942
DE-A- 3 328 899
  
  • PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN vol. 12, no. 163 (P-703)(3010), 18 May 1988; & JP - A - 62278423 (MITSUBISHI) 03.12.1987
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description


[0001] This invention relates to an improved apparatus for measuring the light emitted from a semiconductor light emitting element such as a light emitting diode.

[0002] In general, the outputs of semiconductor light emitting elements, such as light emitting diodes, are measured after the elements are manufactured in the form of pellets, thereby to reject the pellets whose outputs are insufficient, or to classify the pellets in accordance with their outputs measured.

[0003] Fig. 1 shows a conventional light-measuring apparatus. In the figure, a light emitting element 1, such as a light emitting diode, is provided with an ohmic electrode 2, 4, the ohmic electrode 2 contacts a flat electrode plate 3 incorporated in the apparatus, and another ohmic electrode 4 of the element 1 contacts a probe 5 incorporated in the same. The apparatus has a power source 6 comprising a current source circuit 6A and an ammeter 6B, and interposed between the electrode plate 3 and probe 5, for supplying a predetermined amount of electric current to the light emitting element 1.

[0004] A light receiving element 7, such as a photodiode, having a diameter of 10-20mm is located above the light emitting element 1, for converting the light emitted from the element 1 into an electric signal. The output of the element 7 is measured by a voltmeter 8A, which constitutes a measuring circuit 8 together with a resistor 8B.

[0005] Fig. 2 shows another conventional light-measuring apparatus, which is different from the above-described apparatus only in that a transparent electrode layer 9 is used in place of the probe 5. More specifically, the light receiving element 7 has a transparent insulating package 7A. The transparent and conductive electrode layer 9 made of, for example, stannic oxide is formed on the package 7A. The layer 9 is connected to the power source 6. When the layer 9 contacts the ohmic electrode 4 of the light emitting element 1 as is shown in the figure, the element 1 emits light. The light receiving element 7 converts the light into an electric signal, which is measured by the measuring circuit 8.

[0006] Referring back to Fig. 1, if the light emitting element 1 has a width of about 0.3mm, the distance between the elements 1 and 7 must be set to not less than 10mm, so as to provide a sufficient space for the probe 5. Accordingly, the light receiving element 7, having a small light receiving surface, can receive only a small part of the light emitted from the element 1, which makes it difficult to accurately detect the light output from the element 1.

[0007] In the apparatus shown in Fig. 2, the light receiving surface of the element 7 is close to the light emitting element 1, improving the measuring accuracy. However, the electrode layer 9 has sheet resistance ρs of about 100 Ω/m², which is lower than that of any metal. Hence, this apparatus is disadvantageous in that the output of the light emitting element 1 may be varied by the heat the electrode layer 9 generates from the electric power supplied thereto.

[0008] The apparatus shown in Fig. 2 is also disadvantageous in another respect. When this apparatus measures the forward-direction voltage characteristic of the light emitting element 1, the measurement may be affected by the voltage drop across the electrode layer 9 due to low conductivity thereof.

[0009] It is the object of the present invention is to provide a light measuring apparatus capable of measuring the light output from a semiconductor light emitting element with accuracy.

[0010] To attain the above object, the applicant's apparatus for measuring outputs from a semiconductor light emitting element, having first and second electrodes, for emitting light from that portion thereof located in the vicinity of the second electrode, comprises:
   a third electrode to be brought into contact with the first electrode of the semiconductor light emitting element;
   a light receiving element for receiving the light emitted from the semiconductor light emitting element, and outputting an electric signal indicative of the light;
   a fourth electrode formed by a metal net and provided on a light receiving surface of the light receiving element, the fourth electrode being to be brought into contact with the second electrode of the semiconductor light emitting element, for supplying electric current to the semiconductor light emitting element, together with the third electrode; and
   means for measuring the output of the semiconductor light emitting element, from the corresponding electric signal output by the light receiving element.

[0011] Thus, the light receiving element employed in the invention has its light receiving surface provided with the fourth electrode formed by a metal net, and the light emitting element is supplied with electric power by way of the fourth electrode, whereby light is emitted from the light emitting element to the light receiving element through spaces formed in the fourth electrode. Accordingly, the light receiving surface is sufficiently close to the light emitting element, and overheat of the light emitting element can be prevented to thereby make it possible to measure the light output with accuracy.

[0012] This invention can be more fully understood from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 is a diagram showing a conventional light measuring apparatus;

Fig. 2 is a schematic diagram showing another conventional light measuring apparatus;

Fig. 3 is a schematic diagram showing a light measuring apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Fig. 4 is a plan view showing a mesh electrode employed in the apparatus of Fig. 3;

Fig. 5 is a plan view showing another example of an electrode; and

Fig. 6 is a plan view showing a light emitting element employed in the apparatus of Fig. 3.



[0013] The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings showing an embodiment thereof.

[0014] Referring first to Fig. 3, a light emitting element 11, such as a light emitting diode, is provided with first and second ohmic electrodes 12 and 13. The first ohmic electrode 12 is brought into contact with a flat electrode plate 14 formed of a metal and having, for example, gold plated thereon.

[0015] A light receiving element 15, such as a photo diode, has a light receiving surface provided with a mesh electrode 16 to be brought into contact with the second ohmic electrode 13. As is shown in Figs. 3 and 4, the mesh electrode 16 is formed by depositing gold (Au) 16A on the surface of a package 15A of the receiving element 15, which is made of a transparent insulator such as glass. The electrode 16 can also be formed by weaving stainless filaments 16B in the form of a net, and the net is attached to the package 15A, as is shown in Fig. 5.

[0016] Thus, the electrode 16 consists of a plurality of elements, each of which has a width LA of 30 µm, and the distance LB between each two of which is 90 µm, as is shown in Figs. 4 and 5. Further, as is shown in Fig. 6, the second ohmic electrode 13 of the light emitting element 11 has a diameter LC of 100 µm. Thus, the mesh electrode 16 can always contact the second ohmic electrode 13, whichever portion of the former is placed on the latter.

[0017] The condition for contacting the mesh electrode 16 with the second ohmic electrode 13 is:



[0018] The condition for making the mesh electrode 16 cover less than 50% of the area of the receiving element 15 is:



[0019] Thus, that area of the element 15 to be covered with the mesh electrode 16 can be set from 50% to 20%. The second ohmic electrode 13 is not necessarily shaped circle.

[0020] Returning to Fig. 3, a power source 17, including a power source circuit 17A and an ammeter 17B, is interposed between the electrode 16 and electrode plate 14. When the power source 17 is turned on, with the electrode 16 being connected to the second ohmic electrode 13, electric current flows through the elements 16, 13, 11, 12, and 14, whereby light is emitted from that portion of the light emitting element 11 located around the second ohmic electrode 13, to the light receiving element 15 through the gaps defined between the elements of the electrode 16. The light receiving element 15 converts the light into an electric signal. A measuring circuit 19 is connected to the element 15 through a power source 18. The circuit 19 comprises a resistor 19A and a voltmeter 19B, to which resistor the output of the light receiving element 15 is applied. The voltmeter 19B detects the voltage drop across the resistor 19A, to thereby detect the light emitted from the light emitting element 11.

[0021] In the above embodiment, the light emitting element 11 is opposed to the light receiving element 15, with the mesh electrode 16 interposed between the elements 11 and 15. Hence, the distance between the elements 11 and 15 can be set to a few mm. Further, the mesh electrode 16 interrupts only 50-20% of the light emitted from the light emitting element 11. This structure restrains the light interruption amount smaller than in conventional apparatuses. Thus, the applicant's apparatus can measure the light output more accurately.

[0022] Moreover, the mesh electrode 16 is made of gold or stainless, and therefore has an electrical conductivity higher than the conventional transparent conductive electrode layer 9, which prevents the electrode 16 from generating as much heat as causing a change in the light output from the light emitting element 11.

[0023] Furthermore, the electrical conductivity of the electrode 16 is so high that the voltage drop across the same can be ignored, which enhances the accuracy of the measurement of the forward-direction voltage characteristic of the light emitting element 11, and hence enables a measurement apparatus of high versatility to be manufactured.

[0024] The distance LB between each two electrode elements is set smaller than the diameter of the second ohmic electrode 13 of the light emitting element 11, which enables the electrode 16 to be surely put into contact with the electrode 13.

[0025] In addition, when any portion of the electrode 16 touches the second ohmic electrode 13, the resistance value of the electrode 16 is not varied by virtue of the high conductivity of the electrode 16, which also makes it possible to perform an accurate measurement.

[0026] This invention is not limited to the measurement of the output of a light emitting diode, but can be applied to the measurement of the output of, for example, a semiconductor laser which emits light from the front surface thereof.

[0027] Reference signs in the claims are intended for better understanding and shall not limit the scope.


Claims

1. An apparatus for measuring outputs from a semiconductor light emitting element, having first and second electrodes, for emitting light from that portion thereof located in the vicinity of the second electrode,
   characterized by comprising
   a third electrode (14) to be brought into contact with the first electrode (12) of the semiconductor light emitting element (11);
   a light receiving element (15) for receiving the light emitted from the semiconductor light emitting element (11), and outputting electric signals indicative of the light;
   a fourth electrode (16) formed by a metal net and provided on a light receiving surface of the light receiving element (15), the fourth electrode being to be brought into contact with the second electrode (13) of the semiconductor light emitting element (11), for supplying electric current to the semiconductor light emitting element (11), together with the third electrode (14); and
   means (19) for measuring the output of the semiconductor light emitting element (11), from the corresponding electric signals output by the light receiving element (15).
 
2. An apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that the fourth electrode (16) comprises a plurality of elements, the distance between each two of the elements being set slightly smaller than the diameter of the second electrode (13) of the semiconductor light emitting element (11).
 
3. An apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that the fourth electrode (16) is formed by weaving stainless filaments (16B) in the form of a net.
 
4. An apparatus according to claim 1, characterized in that the fourth electrode (16) is formed by depositing gold (16A) on the light receiving surface of the light receiving element (15).
 
5. An apparatus according to claim 1, characterized by further comprising power supply means (17) for supplying electric current to the third and fourth electrodes (14, 16).
 


Ansprüche

1. Vorrichtung zum Messen von Ausgaben eines lichtemittierenden Halbleiterelements mit einer ersten und zweiten Elektrode zum Emittieren von Licht von dem Abschnitt davon, der in der Nähe der zweiten Elektrode gelegen ist,
gekennzeichnet durch

- eine dritte Elektrode (14), welche mit der ersten Elektrode (12) des lichtemittierenden Halbleiterelements (11) in Kontakt zu bringen ist;

- einem lichtempfangenden Element (15) zum Empfangen des von dem lichtemittierenden Halbleiterelement (11) emittierten Lichts und Ausgeben von elektrischen Signalen zum Anzeigen des Lichts;

- einer vierten Elektrode (16) gebildet aus einem Metallnetz und vorgesehen auf einer Lichtempfangsoberfläche des lichtempfangenden Elements (15), wobei die vierte Elektrode mit der zweiten Elektrode (13) des lichtemittierenden Halbleiterelements (11) in Kontakt zu bringen ist zum Zuführen eines elektrischen Stroms an das lichtemittierende Halbleiterelement (11) zusammen mit der dritten Elektrode (14); und

- einer Einrichtung (19) zum Messen der Ausgabe des lichtemittierenden Halbleiterelements (11) aus den entsprechenden elektrischen Signalen, die durch das lichtempfangende Element (15) ausgegeben werden.


 
2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1,
dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß
die vierte Elektrode (16) eine Vielzahl von Elementen umfaßt, wobei der Abstand zwischen jeweils zwei der Elemente leicht kleiner eingestellt ist als der Durchmesser der zweiten Elektrode (13) des lichtemittierenden Halbleiterelements (11).
 
3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1,
dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß
die vierte Elektrode (16) gebildet ist durch Verweben rostfreier Filamente (16B) in Form eines Netzes.
 
4. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1,
dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß
die vierte Elektrode (16) gebildet ist durch Abscheiden von Gold (16A) auf der Lichtempfangsoberfläche des lichtempfangenden Elements (15).
 
5. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1,
gekennzeichnet durch
eine Leistungsversorgungseinrichtung (17) zum Zuführen elektrischen Stroms an die dritte und vierte Elektrode (14, 16).
 


Revendications

1. Appareil de mesure des signaux de sortie d'un élément photoémissif à semi-conducteur, ayant une première et une seconde électrode et destiné à émettre de la lumière par la partie qui est disposée au voisinage de la seconde électrode,
   caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend :
   une troisième électrode (14) destinée à être mise au contact de la première électrode (12) de l'élément photoémissif (11) à semi-conducteur,
   un élément photorécepteur (15) destiné à recevoir la lumière émise par l'élément photoémissif (11) à semiconducteur et à transmettre les signaux électriques représentatifs de cette lumière,
   une quatrième électrode (16) formée d'une grille métallique et placée à la surface photoréceptrice de l'élément photorécepteur (15), la quatrième électrode étant destinée à être mise au contact de la seconde électrode (13) de l'élément photoémissif (11) à semi-conducteur afin qu'elle transmette un courant électrique à l'élément photoémissif (11) à semi-conducteur avec la troisième électrode (14), et
   un dispositif (19) de mesure du signal de sortie de l'élément photoémissif (11) à semi-conducteur à partir des signaux électriques correspondants transmis par l'élément photorécepteur (15).
 
2. Appareil selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que la quatrième électrode (16) comprend plusieurs éléments, la distance entre deux éléments de chaque paire étant réglée à une valeur légèrement inférieure au diamètre de la seconde électrode (13) de l'élément photoémissif (11) à semi-conducteur.
 
3. Appareil selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que la quatrième électrode (16) est formée par tissage de filaments inoxydables (16B) sous forme d'une grille.
 
4. Appareil selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que la quatrième électrode (16) est formée par dépôt d'or (16A) sur la surface photoréceptrice de l'élément photorécepteur (15).
 
5. Appareil selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend en outre un dispositif d'alimentation (17) destiné à transmettre un courant électrique à la troisième et à la quatrième électrode (14, 16).
 




Drawing