Silicon LEDs fabricated in standard VLSI technology as components for all silicon monolithic integrated optoelectronic systems

Monuko Du Plessis, Herzl Aharoni, Lukas W. Snyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


It is shown that, by using conventional VLSI design rules and device processing, a variety of two terminal and multiterminal integrated silicon light-emitting devices (Si-LEDs) can be routinely fabricated without any adaptation to the process, enabling the production of all-silicon monolithic optoelectronic systems. Their specific performance can be tailored by their different geometries and structures, yielding, by design, area, line, and point light-emitting patterns. The light-generating mechanisms are based on carrier quantum transitions in Si pn junctions, operated in the field emission or avalanche modes. Field emission Si-LEDs can operate at supply voltages compatible with those of integrated circuits (5 V or less). Avalanche Si-LEDs require higher operating voltages, but yield higher light intensities. The two terminal Si-LEDs yield a linear relation between the emitted light intensity and the driving current. The multiterminal Si-LEDs exhibit a nonlinear relation between the light emission intensity and the controlling electrical signal, enabling signal processing operations, which can not be attained in two terminal Si-LEDs. Two basic structures of multiterminal Si-LEDs are presented, i.e MOS-like structures, or carrier injection based structures (BJT-like devices). They possess different input impedances and both their emitted light intensities and emitting area patterns can be controlled by the input electrical signal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1412-1419
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2002


  • Integrated optoelectronics
  • Light-emitting diodes
  • Silicon
  • VLSI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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