Low-operating-voltage integrated silicon light-emitting devices

Herzl Aharoni, Monuko Du Plessis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A solution is presented for the fabrication of low-voltage, low-power (<4.25 V and <5 mW) silicon light-emitting devices (Si-LEDs), utilizing standard very large scale integration technology without any adaptation. Accordingly, they can be integrated with their signal processing CMOS and BiCMOS circuits on the same chip. This enables the fabrication of much needed all-silicon monolithic optoelectronic systems operated by a single supply. The structural details of two distinctly different line-patterned Si-LEDs are presented, composed of heavily doped n+ p+ junctions, madeby BiCMOs n+ sinker and PMOS p+ source/drain doped regions, respectively. Using this approach, other Si-LED structures can be designed to yield low- or high-voltage Si-LED operation as well. Light is emitted at low reverse bias as a result of quantum transitions of carriers, generated by field emission, as indicated by the low reverse breakdown voltage VB, the soft "knee" I-V characteristics and the negative temperature coefficient of VB. The optical performance data show that, at low reverse operating current IR, the overall emitted light intensity L is a nonlinear function of IR and becomes linear at higher IR. A bell-shaped light spectrum is obtained, with an enhanced short wavelength and attenuated long-wavelength radiation, relative to that of avalanche Si-LEDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2004


  • Field emission
  • Light-emitting devices
  • Silicon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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