III–nitride light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the backbone of ubiquitous lighting and display applications. Imparting directional emission is an essential requirement for many LED implementations. Although optical packaging1, nanopatterning2,3 and surface roughening4 techniques can enhance LED extraction, directing the emitted light requires bulky optical components. Optical metasurfaces provide precise control over transmitted and reflected waveforms, suggesting a new route for directing light emission. However, it is difficult to adapt metasurface concepts for incoherent light emission, due to the lack of a phase-locking incident wave. Here, we demonstrate a metasurface-based design of InGaN/GaN quantum-well structures that generate narrow, unidirectional transmission and emission lobes at arbitrary engineered angles. We further demonstrate 7-fold and 100-fold enhancements of total and air-coupled external quantum efficiencies, respectively. The results present a new strategy for exploiting metasurface functionality in light-emitting devices.
This is a preview of subscription content
Subscribe to Nature+
Get immediate online access to the entire Nature family of 50+ journals
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
The code that supports the plots within this paper and other findings of this study is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
Steigerwald, D. A. et al. Illumination with solid state lighting technology. IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 8, 310–320 (2002).
Keller, S. et al. Optical and structural properties of GaN nanopillar and nanostripe arrays with embedded InGaN∕GaN multi-quantum wells. J. Appl. Phys. 100, 054314 (2006).
Wierer, J. J., David, A. & Megens, M. M. III–nitride photonic-crystal light-emitting diodes with high extraction efficiency. Nat. Photon. 3, 163–169 (2009).
Fujii, T. et al. Increase in the extraction efficiency of GaN-based light-emitting diodes via surface roughening. Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 855–857 (2004).
Craford, M. G. LEDs for solid state lighting and other emerging applications: status, trends, and challenges. Proc. SPIE 5941, 594101 (2005).
Liu, Z., Chong, W. C., Wong, K. M. & Lau, K. M. GaN-based LED micro-displays for wearable applications. Microelectron. Eng. 148, 98–103 (2015).
Huang, J.-J., Kuo, H.-C. & Shen, S.-C. Nitride Semiconductor Light-emitting Diodes (LEDs): Materials, Technologies, and Applications (Woodhead Publishing, 2017).
Ha, S. T. et al. Directional lasing in resonant semiconductor nanoantenna arrays. Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 1042–1047 (2018).
Hoang, T. B., Akselrod, G. M., Yang, A., Odom, T. W. & Mikkelsen, M. H. Millimeter-scale spatial coherence from a plasmon laser. Nano Lett. 17, 6690–6695 (2017).
Schuller, J. A., Taubner, T. & Brongersma, M. L. Optical antenna thermal emitters. Nat. Photon. 3, 658–661 (2009).
Sakr, E., Dhaka, S. & Bermel, P. Asymmetric angular-selective thermal emission. Proc. SPIE 9743, 97431D (2016).
Inampudi, S., Cheng, J., Salary, M. M. & Mosallaei, H. Unidirectional thermal radiation from a SiC metasurface. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 35, 39–46 (2018).
Curto, A. G. et al. Unidirectional emission of a quantum dot coupled to a nanoantenna. Science 329, 930–933 (2010).
Kosako, T., Kadoya, Y. & Hofmann, H. F. Directional control of light by a nano-optical Yagi–Uda antenna. Nat. Photon. 4, 312–315 (2010).
Ho, J. et al. Highly directive hybrid metal–dielectric Yagi-Uda nanoantennas. ACS Nano 12, 8616–8624 (2018).
Muhlschlegel, P. Resonant optical antennas. Science 308, 1607–1609 (2005).
Langguth, L., Schokker, A. H., Guo, K. & Koenderink, A. F. Plasmonic phase-gradient metasurface for spontaneous emission control. Phys. Rev. B 92, 205401 (2015).
Hancu, I. M., Curto, A. G., Castro-López, M., Kuttge, M. & van Hulst, N. F. Multipolar interference for directed light emission. Nano Lett. 14, 166–171 (2013).
Vaskin, A., Kolkowski, R., Koenderink, A. F. & Staude, I. Light-emitting metasurfaces. Nanophotonics 8, 1151–1198 (2019).
Arbabi, E., Arbabi, A., Kamali, S. M., Horie, Y. & Faraon, A. Controlling the sign of chromatic dispersion in diffractive optics with dielectric metasurfaces. Optica 4, 625 (2017).
Arbabi, A., Horie, Y., Bagheri, M. & Faraon, A. Dielectric metasurfaces for complete control of phase and polarization with subwavelength spatial resolution and high transmission. Nat. Nanotechnol. 10, 937–943 (2015).
Iyer, P. P., Pendharkar, M. & Schuller, J. A. Electrically reconfigurable metasurfaces using heterojunction resonators. Adv. Opt. Mater. 4, 1582–1588 (2016).
Chalabi, H., Alù, A. & Brongersma, M. L. Focused thermal emission from a nanostructured SiC surface. Phys. Rev. B 94, 094307 (2016).
Liu, S. et al. Light-emitting metasurfaces: simultaneous control of spontaneous emission and far-field radiation. Nano Lett. 18, 6906–6914 (2018).
Vaskin, A. et al. Manipulation of magnetic dipole emission from Eu3+ with Mie-resonant dielectric metasurfaces. Nano Lett. 19, 1015–1022 (2019).
Lozano, G., Grzela, G., Verschuuren, M. A., Ramezani, M. & Rivas, J. G. Tailor-made directional emission in nanoimprinted plasmonic-based light-emitting devices. Nanoscale 6, 9223–9229 (2014).
Li, J., Verellen, N. & Van Dorpe, P. Enhancing magnetic dipole emission by a nano-doughnut-shaped silicon disk. ACS Photon. 4, 1893–1898 (2017).
Staude, I. et al. Shaping photoluminescence spectra with magnetoelectric resonances in all-dielectric nanoparticles. ACS Photon. 2, 172–177 (2015).
Vaskin, A. et al. Directional and spectral shaping of light emission with Mie-resonant silicon nanoantenna arrays. ACS Photon. 5, 1359–1364 (2018).
Cotrufo, M., Osorio, C. I. & Koenderink, A. F. Spin-dependent emission from arrays of planar chiral nanoantennas due to lattice and localized plasmon resonances. ACS Nano 10, 3389–3397 (2016).
Guo, K., Du, M., Osorio, C. I. & Koenderink, A. F. Broadband light scattering and photoluminescence enhancement from plasmonic Vogel’s golden spirals. Laser Photon. Rev. 11, 1600235 (2017).
Iyer, P. P., Butakov, N. A. & Schuller, J. A. Reconfigurable semiconductor phased-array metasurfaces. ACS Photon. 2, 1077–1084 (2015).
Das, T., Iyer, P. P., DeCrescent, R. A. & Schuller, J. A. Beam engineering for selective and enhanced coupling to multipolar resonances. Phys. Rev. B 92, 241110 (2015).
Yu, N. et al. Light propagation with phase discontinuities: generalized laws of reflection and refraction. Science 334, 333–337 (2011).
Taminiau, T. H., Karaveli, S., van Hulst, N. F. & Zia, R. Quantifying the magnetic nature of light emission. Nat. Commun. 3, 979 (2012).
Schuller, J. A. et al. Orientation of luminescent excitons in layered nanomaterials. Nat. Nanotechnol. 8, 271–276 (2013).
Kurvits, J. A., Jiang, M. & Zia, R. Comparative analysis of imaging configurations and objectives for Fourier microscopy. J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 32, 2082–2092 (2015).
McGroddy, K. et al. Directional emission control and increased light extraction in GaN photonic crystal light emitting diodes. Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 103502 (2008).
Sell, D., Yang, J., Doshay, S., Yang, R. & Fan, J. A. Large-angle, multifunctional metagratings based on freeform multimode geometries. Nano Lett. 17, 3752–3757 (2017).
Sandfuchs, O., Brunner, R., Pätz, D., Sinzinger, S. & Ruoff, J. Rigorous analysis of shadowing effects in blazed transmission gratings. Opt. Lett. 31, 3638–3640 (2006).
Matioli, E. et al. High-brightness polarized light-emitting diodes. Light Sci. Appl. 1, e22 (2012).
Faklis, D. & Morris, G. M. Diffractive optics technology for display applications. In Proc. SPIE 2407, Projection Displays (ed. Wu, M. H.) 57–61 (International Society for Optics and Photonics, 1995).
Piao, M.-L. & Kim, N. Achieving high levels of color uniformity and optical efficiency for a wedge-shaped waveguide head-mounted display using a photopolymer. Appl. Opt. 53, 2180–2186 (2014).
Zhou, Q., Xu, M. & Wang, H. Internal quantum efficiency improvement of InGaN/GaN multiple quantum well green light-emitting diodes. Opto-Electron. Rev. 24, 1–9 (2016).
Zhuang, Z. et al. Great enhancement in the excitonic recombination and light extraction of highly ordered InGaN/GaN elliptic nanorod arrays on a wafer scale. Nanotechnology 27, 015301 (2016).
Wang, G. T., Li, Q., Wierer, J. J., Koleske, D. D. & Figiel, J. J. Top-down fabrication and characterization of axial and radial III-nitride nanowire LEDs. Phys. Status Solidi 211, 748–751 (2014).
Xing, K., Gong, Y., Bai, J. & Wang, T. InGaN/GaN quantum well structures with greatly enhanced performance on a-plane GaN grown using self-organized nano-masks. Appl. Phys. Lett. 99, 181907 (2011).
This work—including all efforts by P.P.I., R.A.D., N.A.B. and J.A.S.—was primarily supported by the Office of Naval Research (N00014-19-1-2004). Y.M. acknowledges support from Quantum Materials for Energy Efficient Neuromorphic Computing, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (BES), under award no. DE-SC0019273. G.L. and C.W. acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation (DMS-1839077) and the Simons Foundation (601954). A.A., S.N. and S.P.D. acknowledge support from the Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Iyer, P.P., DeCrescent, R.A., Mohtashami, Y. et al. Unidirectional luminescence from InGaN/GaN quantum-well metasurfaces. Nat. Photonics 14, 543–548 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-020-0641-x
Nanoscale Research Letters (2022)
Nature Communications (2021)
Nature Nanotechnology (2021)
Comparison of optical, electrical, and surface characteristics of InGaN thin films at non-flow and small nitrogen flow cases
Optical and Quantum Electronics (2021)