(19)
(11)EP 2 504 869 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.02.2020 Bulletin 2020/09

(21)Application number: 10833736.1

(22)Date of filing:  01.10.2010
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01L 33/14(2010.01)
H01L 33/02(2010.01)
H01L 33/22(2010.01)
H01L 33/20(2010.01)
H01L 21/02(2006.01)
H01L 33/06(2010.01)
H01L 33/32(2010.01)
H01L 33/00(2010.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2010/051205
(87)International publication number:
WO 2011/066038 (03.06.2011 Gazette  2011/22)

(54)

LED WITH IMPROVED INJECTION EFFICIENCY

LED MIT ERHÖHTER INJEKTIONSEFFIZIENZ

DIODE ÉLECTROLUMINESCENTE (DEL) AYANT UNE MEILLEURE EFFICACITÉ D'INJECTION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 25.11.2009 US 626474

(43)Date of publication of application:
03.10.2012 Bulletin 2012/40

(73)Proprietor: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do 16677 (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • LESTER, Steven
    Livermore CA 94551-7555 (US)
  • RAMER, Jeff
    Livermore CA 94551-7555 (US)
  • WU, Jun
    Livermore CA 94551-7555 (US)
  • ZHANG, Ling
    Livermore CA 94551-7555 (US)

(74)Representative: Kuhnen & Wacker Patent- und Rechtsanwaltsbüro PartG mbB 
Prinz-Ludwig-Straße 40A
85354 Freising
85354 Freising (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- 2007 214 548
JP-A- 2008 277 714
US-A1- 2003 001 161
US-A1- 2007 057 249
US-B1- 6 329 667
JP-A- 2008 218 746
KR-A- 20060 027 133
US-A1- 2006 246 612
US-A1- 2007 122 994
  
      
    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

    Background of the Invention



    [0001] Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are an important class of solid-state devices that convert electric energy to light. Improvements in these devices have resulted in their use in light fixtures designed to replace conventional incandescent and fluorescent light sources. The LEDs have significantly longer lifetimes and, in some cases, significantly higher efficiency for converting electric energy to light.

    [0002] The cost and conversion efficiency of LEDs are important factors in determining the rate at which this new technology will replace conventional light sources and be utilized in high power applications. Many high power applications require multiple LEDs to achieve the needed power levels, since individual LEDs are limited to a few watts. In addition, LEDs generate light in relatively narrow spectral bands. Hence, in applications requiring a light source of a particular color, the light from a number of LEDs with spectral emission in different optical bands is combined or a portion of the light from the LED is converted to light of a different color using a phosphor. Thus, the cost of many light sources based on LEDs is many times the cost of the individual LEDs. To reduce the cost of such light sources, the amount of light generated per LED must be increased without substantially increasing the cost of each LED and without substantially lowering the conversion efficiency of the individual LEDs.

    [0003] The conversion efficiency of individual LEDs is an important factor in addressing the cost of high power LED light sources. The conversion efficiency of an LED is defined to be the electrical power dissipated per unit of light that is emitted by the LED. Electrical power that is not converted to light in the LED is converted to heat that raises the temperature of the LED. Heat dissipation places a limit on the power level at which an LED operates. In addition, the LEDs must be mounted on structures that provide heat dissipation, which, in turn, further increases the cost of the light sources. Hence, if the conversion efficiency of an LED can be increased, the maximum amount of light that can be provided by a single LED can also be increased, and hence, the number of LEDs needed for a given light source can be reduced. In addition, the cost of operation of the LED is also inversely proportional to the conversion efficiency. Hence, there has been a great deal of work directed to improving the conversion efficiency of LEDs.

    [0004] For the purposes of this discussion, an LED can be viewed as having three layers, the active layer sandwiched between a p-doped layer and an n-doped layer. These layers are typically deposited on a substrate such as sapphire. It should be noted that each of these layers typically includes a number of sub-layers. The overall conversion efficiency of an LED depends on the efficiency with which electricity is converted to light in the active layer. Light is generated when holes from the p-doped layer combine with electrons from the n-doped layer in the active layer.

    [0005] The amount of light that is generated by an LED of a particular size can, in principle, be increased by increasing the current passing through the device, since more holes and electrons will be injected per unit area into the active layer. However, at high current densities, the efficiency with which holes combine with electrons to produce light decreases. That is, the fractions of holes recombine without producing light increases. Hence, as the current is increased through the device, the efficiency decreases and the problems associated with high operating temperatures increase.

    [0006] The following prior art documents disclose technological background for the present invention:

    [0007] The prior art of documents D1-D3 disclose that recesses (pits) are formed in V-shape in an active layer. Sublayers in the active region are directly in contact with p-type extensions in the pits.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0008] According to the present invention, there is provided a method for fabricating a light emitting device as set out in claim 1.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0009] 

    Figure 1 is a cross-sectional View of a prior art LED.

    Figure 2 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of an LED 30 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

    Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the GaN layers through the n-cladding layer of a typical GaN LED formed on a sapphire substrate.

    Figure 4 is an expanded cross-sectional view of a pit in a GaN layer during the growth of that layer.

    Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of an LED in the vicinity of a pit that is grown over a dislocation that had a small pit on the top surface of an n-cladding layer.

    Figure 6 is the same cross-sectional view as Figure 5 after the sidewalls of the sub-layers have been etched.

    Figures 7A-7D illustrate one embodiment of a method for growing the active layer that utilizes an etch after each sub-layer is grown.


    Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments of the Invention



    [0010] The present disclosure includes a light emitting device and method for making the same. The light-emitting device includes an active layer sandwiched between a p-type semiconductor layer and an n-type semiconductor layer. The active layer emits light when holes from the p-type semiconductor layer combine with electrons from the n-type semiconductor layer therein. The active layer includes a number of sub-layers and has a plurality of pits in which the side surfaces of a plurality of the sub-layers are in contact with the p-type semiconductor material such that holes from the p-type semiconductor material are injected into those sub-layers through the exposed side surfaces without passing through another sub-layer.

    [0011] In one aspect of the present disclosure, each sub-layer includes a substantially planar surface that is in contact with the substantially planar surface of another of the sub-layers and a plurality of side surfaces, each side surface is bounded by a wall of one of the pits. Each sub-layer is characterized by a first hole current that enters that sub-layer through the substantially planar surface and a second hole current that enters that sub-layer through the side surfaces of the sub-layer, the second hole current is greater than 10 percent of the first hole current for at least one of the sub-layers.

    [0012] In another aspect of the present disclosure, the first and second semiconductor layers comprise GaN family materials and the pits are located at dislocations in the n-type semiconductor layer.

    [0013] A light emitting device according to the present disclosure can be fabricated by growing an epitaxial n-type semiconductor layer on a substrate and growing an active layer that includes a plurality of sub-layers on the n-type semiconductor layer under growth conditions that cause pits to form in the active layer, a plurality of the sub-layers having sidewalls that are bounded by the pits. The portion of the active layer in the pits is etched to expose the sidewalls of the sub-layers in the pits. A p-type semiconductor layer is grown epitaxially over the active layer such that the p-type semiconductor layer extends into the pits and contacts the sidewalls of the sub-layers.

    [0014] In one aspect of the present disclosure, a plurality of the sub-layers are grown and then the sidewalls of the pits are etched to expose the sidewalls of the sub-layers. In another aspect of the invention, the sidewalls of the pits are etched after each sub-layer is grown to expose the sidewalls of the sub-layers that have been deposited at that point in the processing.

    [0015] In yet another aspect of the present disclosure, etching the active layer to expose the sidewalls includes changing a gas composition in an epitaxial growth chamber in which the device is fabricated to an atmosphere that etches facets of the active layer exposed in the pits faster than facets of the active layer that are not exposed in the pits. In the case of GaN-based devices, an atmosphere that includes NH3 and/or H2 can be used at an elevated temperature to perform the etching without removing the partially fabricated device from the epitaxial growth chamber.

    [0016] The manner in which the present invention provides its advantages can be more easily understood with reference to Figure 1, which is a cross-sectional view of a prior art LED. LED 20 is fabricated on a substrate 21 by depositing a number of layers on the substrate in an epitaxial growth chamber. Typically, a buffer layer 22 is deposited first to compensate for differences in the lattice constants between the lattice constant of the substrate and that of the material system making up the LED layers. For GaN-based LEDs, the substrate is typically sapphire. After buffer layer 22 is deposited, an n-type layer 23 is deposited followed by an active layer 24 and a p-type layer 25. The p-type layer is typically covered by a current spreading layer 26 in GaN LEDs to improve the current distribution through the p-type layer, which has a high resistivity. The device is powered by applying a voltage between contacts 27 and 28.

    [0017] The active layer is typically constructed from a number of sub-layers. Each sub-layer typically includes a barrier layer and a quantum well layer. Holes and electrons combine within the quantum well layer to generate light. Holes can also be lost within the quantum well layer in a manner that does not generate light. Such non-productive recombination events reduce the overall efficiency of the device. The fraction of the holes that are lost by non light-producing events depends on the density of holes within the quantum well layer, higher densities leading to a greater fraction of non-productive events. Holes that do not recombine in a particular sub-layer of the active layer enter the next lowest layer where the process is repeated. At low current densities, most of the holes eventually recombine in light producing events. At high current densities, most of the holes recombine in the first quantum well layer in non-productive processes, and hence, there are very few holes available for recombination in light-producing processes in the lower sub-layers of the active layer.

    [0018] The present invention is based on the observation that the problems in the prior art system arise from attempting to inject all of the holes into the sub-layers of the active layers through the topmost sub-layer. The present invention overcomes this problem by providing a layered structure that allows holes to be injected in the lower sub-layers of the active layer without requiring that the holes pass through the top sub-layer. This approach lowers the density of holes in all of the sub-layers while maintaining the total number of holes that are available for light-producing recombination events in the active layer.

    [0019] Refer now to Figure 2, which is a cross-sectional view of a portion of an LED 30 manufactured according to one embodiment of the present invention. LED 30 is fabricated on a substrate 31 by epitaxially growing a number of layers on substrate 31. The layers include a buffer layer 32, an n-type cladding layer 33, an active layer 34, and a p-type cladding layer 35. A current spreading layer 36 is deposited on the p-cladding layer. Active layer 34 includes a number of sub-layers 34a-34e as described above. To simplify the following discussion, sub-layer 34a will be referred to as the top-most sub-layer; however, this is merely a convenient label and does not imply any particular orientation relative to the earth. Active layer 34 also includes a number of "pits" 37 that extend through the sub-layers of the active layer. To simplify the drawing, only one such pit is shown in the drawing; however, as will be explained in detail below, there is large number of such pits in active layer 34. Cladding layer 35 extends into these pits, and hence, holes from cladding layer 35 can access the sub-layers of active layer 34 through the sidewalls of the pits as well as through the top surface of sub-layer 34a.

    [0020] Consider layer 34b. In a prior art device, the only holes that entered the layer analogous to layer 34b were holes that entered layer 34a and did not combine in layer 34a. In LED 30, the holes that enter layer 34b are the holes that passed through layer 34a and the holes that entered layer 34b through the sidewalls of layer 34b that are exposed in the pits. Since LED 30 is powered from a constant current source, the total number of holes that are injected per unit time is substantially the same as the number of holes injected into a prior art device. Hence, the number of holes that enter layer 34a through the top surface thereof is reduced by the number of holes that enter the various sub-layers through the sidewalls of those sub-layers. If the density of pits is sufficiently high, the density of holes in sub-layer 34a is substantially reduced, and the density of holes in the underlying sub-layers is substantially increased while maintaining the same hole current through the LED as that utilized in the prior art configuration. As a result, the overall efficiency of LED 30 is substantially increased relative to prior art devices at those current densities that lead to non-productive hole recombination events.

    [0021] In one aspect of the present invention, the pits in the active layer are formed with the aid of the dislocations that arise from the difference in lattice constant between the materials from which the LED is constructed and the underlying substrate. For example, GaN-based LEDs that are fabricated on sapphire substrates include vertically propagating dislocations that result from the difference in lattice constant between the GaN-based materials and the sapphire substrate. Refer now to Figure 3, which is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the GaN layers through the n-cladding layer of a typical GaN LED formed on a sapphire substrate. The GaN layers are deposited on a sapphire substrate 41 whose lattice constant differs from the GaN layers. The difference in lattice constant gives rise to dislocations that propagate through the various layers as the layers are deposited. An exemplary dislocation is labeled at 51. The density of such dislocation is typically 107 to 1010 per cm2 in a GaN LED deposited on a sapphire substrate. The number of dislocations that propagate into the n-cladding layer 43 depends on the nature of a buffer layer 42 and the growth conditions under which buffer layer 42 and n-cladding layer 43 are deposited. The dislocations give rise to small pits on the surface of the upper most layer of material such as pit 52. The size of these pits depends on the growth conditions under which the GaN material is deposited during the epitaxial growth of the layers.

    [0022] Refer now to Figure 4, which is an expanded cross-sectional view of a pit 61 in a GaN layer 62 during the growth of that layer. During the growth phase, material is added to the crystal facets of layer 62 as shown by arrows 64 and 66. The crystal facet shown at 63 is typically the c-facet of the GaN crystal. At the dislocations, additional facets such as facets 65 are exposed in addition to facet 63. The rate of growth on the different facets can be adjusted by the growth conditions. The rate of growth on the different facets can be adjusted by the growth conditions such that the rate of growth of the facets 65 exposed in the pit is greater than or less than that of the rate of growth of the facet 63. If the rate of growth of facets 65 is less than that of facet 63, the size of the pit will increase as material is deposited.

    [0023] Refer now to Figure 5, which is a cross-sectional view of a portion of an LED in the vicinity of a pit 77 that is grown over a dislocation 76 that had a small pit 71 on the top surface of an n-cladding layer 73. The growth conditions are chosen such that the rate of growth on crystal facet 74 is substantially less than that on crystal facet 75. This is accomplished by choosing growth conditions that suppress the surface mobility of the materials that are deposited such that the natural tendency of these materials to smooth the surface as the materials are deposited is suppressed. For example, in the InGaN/GaN active region, the GaN barrier layers can be grown using a combination of V/III ratio, growth rate, and growth temperature that minimizes the growth rate on the facet on facet 74. Each of these 3 parameters has a strong effect on the surface mobility of the atoms on the growing surface, and hence, can be manipulated to cause the pit size to increase as the layer is grown. As the various sub-layers of active layer 72 are grown, the size of the pit increases. As a result, the thickness of the sub-layers in the pit is substantially thinner than the thickness of the sub-layers in the regions outside the pit.

    [0024] In an example not forming part of the present invention, all of the sub-layers of the active layer are grown and then the material on facet 74 is removed by selectively etching the active layer using an etchant that attacks material on facet 74 faster than material on facet 75. This leaves the side walls of the sub-layers exposed as shown in Figure 6, which is the same cross-sectional view as Figure 5 after the sidewalls of the sub-layers have been etched.

    [0025] For example, the etching operation can be accomplished in the same growth chamber by introducing H2 into the growth chamber after the growth of the sub-layers has been completed. The growth conditions can be set to enhance etching of the desired facets by utilizing a growth temperature that is greater than or equal to 850 °C using an ambient containing NH3 and H2. In the absence of any group III materials, this ambient will etch the facets at a much higher rate than the c-plane material. Over time, the pits will open up due to the difference in etch rate between the facets and the c-plane material, and hence, expose the sidewalls of the sub-layers.

    [0026] The material can also be etched chemically using a solution that preferentially etches the crystal facet relative to the c-plane face. For chemical etching, molten KOH can be used to etch the facets. Also, hot solutions of H2SO4:H3PO4 can be used to etch the material at temperatures greater than 250 °C. This method requires the removal of the wafer from the growth chamber, and hence, is not preferred.

    [0027] In the above examples, all of the sub-layers of the active layer are grown and then the sidewalls of the pits are selectively etched either in situ or by removing the wafer from the epitaxial growth chamber and utilizing a chemical etch. However, methods in which the sidewalls in the pits are selectively etched at the end of each deposition of each sub-layer can also be utilized. In such methods, the gaseous etch described above is utilized in situ after the deposition of each sub-layer.

    [0028] Refer now to Figures 7A-7D, which illustrate one embodiment of a method for growing the active layer that utilizes an etch after each sub-layer is grown. Referring to Figure 7A, a first sub-layer 84 of the active layer is deposited over the n-type cladding layer 83, which has a pit 81 that is the result of a dislocation 80. Sub-layer 84 is deposited under conditions in which the growth rate of facet 85 is much faster than that on facet 86. After sub-layer 84 is grown, the atmosphere in the growth chamber is switched to the etching atmosphere discussed above for a short period of time. For example, the etching atmosphere could be set as a pause step for 1 minute at a temperature that is greater than 850 °C using an ambient containing NH3 and H2. As a result, the sidewall of sub-layer 87 on facet 86 is preferentially etched back, exposing the sidewalls of the pits such as pit 81 as shown in Figure 7B.

    [0029] The chamber is then switched back to the epitaxial growth mode and a second active layer, sub-layer 88, is deposited under the same growth conditions that were used to deposit sub-layer 84 as shown in Figure 7C. The sidewall of sub-layer 88 extends into pit 81 and covers the exposed sidewall of sub-layer 84 in the pit. The chamber atmosphere is then switched back to the etching atmosphere and the sidewall 89 of layer 88 is etched back leaving both the sidewalls of sub-layers 84 and 88 exposed in the pit as shown in Figure 7D. This process is repeated until all of the sub-layers of the active layer are deposited. The p-cladding layers and other layers are then deposited such that the p-cladding layer is in direct contact with the exposed sidewalls of the sub-layers of the active layer.

    [0030] While the resulting structure is substantially the same as that obtained by utilizing the in situ stack etching procedure, the control of the etching at the individual sub-layer depositions is easier to control. For example, if the entire stack is etched at once, the last sub-layer will be significantly reduced in thickness in the planar regions between the pits. Hence, the last sub-layer thickness must be thicker to compensate for the loss in material. Thus the last sub-layer is different from the other sub-layers. If the sub-layers are etched one at a time, then all of the sub-layers will be identical.

    [0031] The present invention provides its advantages by injecting a significant fraction of the holes into the active layer through the sidewalls of the sub-layers of the active region. The fraction of the hole current that is injected into the active region through the sidewalls depends on the density of pits that are introduced into the active layer. If the density of pits is too small, most of the hole current will enter the active layer through the top surface of the uppermost sub-layer of the active layer. Hence, the density of pits must be sufficient to assure that a significant fraction of the hole current enters through the sidewalls of the sub-layers that are exposed in the pits.

    [0032] However, there is an upper limit on the density of pits that can be advantageously utilized. It should be noted that light is, at best, generated with reduced intensity in the pits, since a significant fraction of the active layer in the pits has been removed.

    [0033] Accordingly, the density of pits is preferably adjusted to a level that allows at least 10 percent of the hole current to be injected into the sidewalls of the active layer sub-layers while maintaining the light output above that obtained without the sidewall injection scheme of the present invention. In practice, a pit density in the range of 107 to 1010 pits per cm2 is sufficient.

    [0034] The density of pits in LEDs that utilize dislocations in the LED layers can be controlled by choosing the substrate on which the layers are deposited and by varying the growth conditions during the deposition of the n-type layers and any buffer layers on which these layers are deposited. The density of dislocations can be increased by choosing a substrate having a greater mismatch lattice constant with that of the n-type layers and/or by adjusting the growth conditions of the buffer layers that are deposited on the substrate prior to depositing the n-cladding layer. In addition to the sapphire substrates discussed above, SiC, AlN, and Silicon substrates could be utilized to provide different degrees of mismatch.

    [0035] As noted above, one or more buffer layers of material are typically deposited on the substrate under conditions that reduce the number of dislocations that propagate into the n-cladding layer. Altering the growth conditions of the buffer layer and other layers deposited on the buffer layer also alters the density of dislocations. Growth parameters such as the V/III ratio, temperature, and growth rate all have significant effects on the dislocation density if they are changed in the early layers of the structure. Normally, these parameters are chosen to reduce the density of dislocations; however, the present invention can utilize these parameters to increase the level of dislocations.

    [0036] The above-described embodiments utilize the GaN family of materials. For the purposes of this discussion, the GaN family of materials is defined to be all alloy compositions of GaN, InN and AlN. However, embodiments that utilize other material systems and substrates can also be constructed according to the teachings of the present invention.

    [0037] The above-described embodiments are described in terms of "top" and "bottom" surfaces of the various layers. In general, the layers are grown from the bottom surface to the top surface to simplify the discussion. However, it is to be understood that these are merely convenient labels and are not to be taken as requiring any particular orientation with respect to the Earth.

    [0038] The above-described embodiments of the present invention have been provided to illustrate various aspects of the invention. However, it is to be understood that different aspects of the present invention that are shown in different specific embodiments can be combined to provide other embodiments of the present invention. In addition, various modifications to the present invention will become apparent from the foregoing description and accompanying drawings. Accordingly, the present invention is to be limited solely by the scope of the following claims.


    Claims

    1. A method for fabricating a light emitting device (30), comprising the following steps:

    a) growing an epitaxial n-type semiconductor layer (33; 43; 83) on a substrate (31, 41), said epitaxial n-type semiconductor layer including dislocations (51, 80);

    b1) growing an active layer (34; 62;) comprising a plurality of sub-layers (34a-34e) on said epitaxial n-type semiconductor layer under growth conditions that cause each of said plurality of sub-layers to form pits (37; 52; 61; 71, 81) on said dislocations, a plurality of said sub-layers having sidewalls that are bounded by said pits;

    b2) wherein said active layer is grown by repeating

    b21) a first step of depositing a sub-layer so as to have a thickness in said pits thinner than a thickness outside said pits; and

    b22) a second step of etching said sub-layer deposited in said pits so as to expose sidewalls of the deposited sub-layers at the end of each depositing of a sub-layer;

    c) growing an epitaxial p-type semiconductor layer (35) over said active layer such that said epitaxial p-type semiconductor layer extends into said pits and contacts said exposed sidewalls of said sub-layers and an upper surface of the active layer; and

    d) providing contacts for applying a potential difference between said epitaxial p-type semiconductor layer and said epitaxial n-type semiconductor layer.


     
    2. The method of claim 1, wherein said epitaxial n-type semiconductor layer has a lattice constant that is different from that of said substrate, said difference giving rise to said dislocations and wherein said pits are formed at locations having said dislocations.
     
    3. The method of claim 1 or 2, wherein the second step of etching said sub-layer deposited in said pits so as to expose said sidewalls comprises changing a gas composition in an epitaxial growth chamber in which said device is being fabricated to an atmosphere that etches facets of said active layer exposed in said pits faster than facets of said active layer that are not exposed in said pits.
     
    4. The method of any one of claims 1-3, wherein said active layer is grown on a c-plane facet of a material in a GaN family of materials and wherein etching said sub-layer to expose said sidewalls comprises chemically etching said sub-layer with an etchant that etches crystal facets in said pits faster than material on said c-plane facet.
     
    5. The method of claim 3, wherein said atmosphere comprises H2.
     
    6. The method of any one of claims 1-5, wherein said epitaxial n-type semiconductor layer is grown under conditions that result in a density of dislocations between 107 cm-2 and 1010 cm-2.
     
    7. The method of any one of claims 1-6, wherein holes are injected from said epitaxial p-type semiconductor layer into said active layer, and said active layer and said epitaxial p-type semiconductor layer are formed so that at least 10 percent of said holes are injected from said epitaxial p-type semiconductor layer into said active layer through said exposed sidewalls of said sub-layers.
     
    8. The method of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein said plurality of sub-layers are deposited under growth conditions that suppress a surface mobility of a material for depositing said sub-layer.
     
    9. The method of any one of claims 1-8, wherein holes are injected from said epitaxial p-type semiconductor layer into said active layer through said exposed sidewalls of said sub-layers and through an outside of said pits.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Herstellen einer lichtemittierenden Vorrichtung (30), aufweisend die folgenden Schritte:

    a) Züchten einer epitaktischen n-dotierten Halbleiterschicht (33; 43; 83) auf einem Substrat (31, 41), wobei die epitaktische n-dotierte Halbleiterschicht Versetzungen (51; 80) aufweist;

    b1) Züchten einer aktiven Schicht (34; 62), die eine Mehrzahl an Unterschichten (34a-34c) auf der epitaktischen n-dotierten Halbleiterschicht aufweist, unter Wachstumsbedingungen, die bewirken, dass jede von der Mehrzahl an Unterschichten Gruben (37; 52; 61; 71, 81) auf den Versetzungen zu ausbilden, wobei eine Mehrzahl der Unterschichten Seitenwände aufweist, die an die Gruben grenzen;

    b2) wobei die aktive Schicht gezüchtet wird durch Wiederholen

    b21) eines ersten Schritts des Abscheidens einer Unterschicht derart, dass eine Dicke in den Gruben dünner ist als eine Dicke außerhalb der Gruben; und

    b22) eines zweiten Schritts des Ätzens der in den Gruben abgeschiedenen Unterschicht, um Seitenwände der abgeschiedenen Unterschichten freizulegen, am Ende jedes Abscheidens einer Unterschicht;

    c) Züchten einer epitaktischen p-dotierten Halbleiterschicht (35) über der aktiven Schicht, so dass die epitaktische p-dotierte Halbleiterschicht sich in die Gruben erstreckt und die freiliegenden Seitenwände der Unterschichten und eine obere Oberfläche der aktiven Schicht berührt; und

    d) Vorsehen von Kontakten zum Anlegen einer Spannungsdifferenz zwischen der epitaktischen p-dotierten Halbleiterschicht und der epitaktischen n-dotierten Halbleiterschicht.


     
    2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die epitaktische n-dotierte Halbleiterschicht eine Gitternetzkonstante aufweist, die sich von der des Substrats unterscheidet, wobei die Differenz die Versetzungen verursacht und wobei die Gruben an Orten ausgebildet sind, die die Versetzungen aufweisen.
     
    3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei der zweite Schritt des Ätzens der Unterschicht, die in den Gruben abgeschieden ist, um die Seitenwände freizulegen, ein Ändern einer Gaszusammensetzung in einer epitaktischen Wachstumskammer, in der die Vorrichtung hergestellt wird, in eine Atmosphäre, die Facetten der aktiven Schicht, die in den Gruben freigelegt sind, schneller ätzt als Facetten der aktiven Schicht, die nicht in den Gruben freigelegt sind, aufweist.
     
    4. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei die aktive Schicht auf einer c-Ebenen-Facette eines Materials in einer GaN-Familie von Materialien gezüchtet wird und wobei das Ätzen der Unterschicht, um die Seitenwände freizulegen, ein chemisches Ätzen der Unterschicht mit einem Ätzmittel aufweist, das Kristallfacetten in den Gruben schneller ätzt als das Material auf der c-Ebenen-Facette.
     
    5. Verfahren nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Atmosphäre H2 aufweist.
     
    6. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei die epitaktische n-dotierte Halbleiterschicht unter Bedingungen gezüchtet wird, die eine Dichte der Versetzungen zwischen 107 cm-2 und 1010 cm-2 zur Folge haben.
     
    7. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei Löcher von der epitaktischen p-dotierten Halbleiterschicht in die aktive Schicht injiziert werden und die aktive Schicht und die epitaktische p-dotierte Halbleiterschicht so ausgebildet sind, dass durch die freigelegten Seitenwände der Unterschichten zumindest 10 Prozent der Löcher von der epitaktischen p-dotierten Halbleiterschicht in die aktive Schicht injiziert werden.
     
    8. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei die Mehrzahl an Unterschichten unter Wachstumsbedingungen abgeschieden werden, die eine Oberflächenmobilität eines Materials zum Abscheiden der Unterschicht unterdrücken.
     
    9. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei durch die freigelegten Seitenwände der Unterschichten und durch eine Umgebung außerhalb der Gruben Löcher von der epitaktischen p-dotierten Halbleiterschicht in die aktive Schicht injiziert werden.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé pour fabriquer un dispositif électroluminescent (30), comprenant les étapes suivantes :

    a) le développement d'une couche semi-conductrice de type n épitaxiale (33 ; 43 ; 83) sur un substrat (31, 41), ladite couche semi-conductrice de type n épitaxiale comprenant des dislocations (51, 80) ;

    b1) le développement d'une couche active (34 ; 62) comprenant une pluralité de sous-couches (34a à 34e) sur ladite couche semi-conductrice de type n épitaxiale dans des conditions de développement qui amènent chacune de ladite pluralité de sous-couches à former des creux (37 ; 52 ; 61 ; 71, 81) sur lesdites dislocations, une pluralité desdites sous-couches comportant des parois latérales qui sont délimitées par lesdits creux ;

    b2) dans lequel ladite couche active est développée en répétant

    b21) une première étape de dépôt d'une sous-couche de manière à ce qu'elle ait une épaisseur dans lesdits creux inférieure à une épaisseur à l'extérieur desdits creux ; et

    b22) une deuxième étape de gravure de ladite sous-couche déposée dans lesdits creux de manière à exposer les parois latérales des sous-couches déposées à la fin de chaque dépôt d'une sous-couche ;

    c) le développement d'une couche semi-conductrice de type p épitaxiale (35) sur ladite couche active de sorte que ladite couche semi-conductrice de type p épitaxiale s'étende dans lesdits creux et soit en contact avec lesdites parois latérales exposées desdites sous-couches et une surface supérieure de la couche active ; et

    d) la prévision de contacts pour appliquer une différence de potentiel entre ladite couche semi-conductrice de type p épitaxiale et ladite couche semi-conductrice de type n épitaxiale.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite couche semi-conductrice de type n épitaxiale a une constante de réseau qui est différente de celle dudit substrat, ladite différence générant lesdites dislocations, et dans lequel lesdits creux sont formés aux emplacements présentant lesdites dislocations.
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel la deuxième étape de gravure de ladite sous-couche déposée dans lesdits creux de manière à exposer lesdites parois latérales comprend le changement d'une composition de gaz dans une chambre de croissance épitaxiale dans laquelle ledit dispositif est fabriqué en une atmosphère qui grave les facettes de ladite couche active exposée dans lesdits creux plus rapidement que les facettes de ladite couche active qui ne sont pas exposées dans lesdits creux.
     
    4. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel ladite couche active est développée sur une facette de plan c d'un matériau d'une famille de matériaux GaN, et dans lequel la gravure de ladite sous-couche pour exposer lesdites parois latérales comprend la gravure chimique de ladite sous-couche avec un agent de gravure qui grave les facettes de cristal dans lesdits creux plus rapidement que le matériau sur ladite facette de plan c.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ladite atmosphère comprend du H2.
     
    6. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel ladite couche semi-conductrice de type n épitaxiale est développée dans des conditions qui résultent en une densité de dislocations entre 107 cm-2 et 1010 cm-2.
     
    7. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel des trous sont injectés à partir de ladite couche semi-conductrice de type p épitaxiale dans ladite couche active, et ladite couche active et ladite couche semi-conductrice de type p épitaxiale sont formées de sorte qu'au moins 10 pourcent desdits trous soient injectés à partir de ladite couche semi-conductrice de type p épitaxiale dans ladite couche active à travers lesdites parois latérales exposées desdites sous-couches.
     
    8. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, dans lequel ladite pluralité de sous-couches sont déposées dans des conditions de développement qui suppriment une mobilité de surface d'un matériau pour déposer ladite sous-couche.
     
    9. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel des trous sont injectés à partir de ladite couche semi-conductrice de type p épitaxiale dans ladite couche active à travers lesdites parois latérales exposées desdites sous-couches et à travers l'extérieur desdits creux.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description