Abstract

AlGaN-based materials own direct transition energy bands and wide bandgap and thus can be used in high-efficiency ultraviolet (UV) emitters and detectors. Over the past two decades, AlGaN-based materials and devices experienced rapid development. Deep ultraviolet AlGaN-based light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with improved efficiency of 20.3% (at 275 nm) have been produced. An electron beam (EB)-pumped AlGaN-based UV light source at 238 nm, output power of 100 mW, and power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 40% has also been fabricated. UV stimulated emission from AlGaN multiple-quantum-wells laser diodes (LDs) using electrical pumping at room temperature has also been achieved at a wavelength of 336 nm. Compared with GaN-based blue and green LEDs and LDs, the efficiency of AlGaN-based UV LEDs and LDs is lower. Further optimization and improvements in both structure and fabrication are required to realize high-performance devices. In AlGaN-based UV photodetectors (PDs), gain as high as 104 orders of magnitude has been reported using the separated absorption and multiplication region avalanche photodiode structure but is still far from detecting the weak signal, and thus UV single-photon detectors with high detectivity is challenging. Recently, there has been extensive work in the nonlinear optical properties of AlGaN and AlGaN-based passive devices, such as waveguides and resonators. However, how to minimize the scattering and defect-related absorption needs to be further studied. In this review, first, approaches used to grow an AlGaN epilayer and p-type doping are introduced. Second, progress in AlGaN-based UV LEDs, EB-pumped light sources, LDs, PDs, passive devices, and the nonlinear optical properties are presented. Finally, an overview of potential future trends in AlGaN-based materials and UV devices is given.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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