AlGaN Active Layer UV LED

Dislocation Accommodating, UV LED Active Layer Material

The US Army seeks commercial partners to license and commercialize an AlGaN UV LED active layer with nanometer scale compositional inhomogeneities that yield high internal quantum efficiencies from a dislocation defect

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Technology Description

Background & Technology:

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has developed an AlGaN active layer with high internal quantum efficiency (IQE) for use in ultraviolet light emitting diodes (UV LED). This research is targeted at the UVB, UVC regions. Nanoscale compositional inhomogeneities (NCI) in AlGaN creates a higher efficiency UV emitter active region by inhibiting/suppressing nonradiative recombination and reducing radiative lifetime. Measured at room temperature, materials made from the ARL method have demonstrated IQE of 50+% from NCI-AlGaN on sapphire emitting at 290 nm and 34% from NCI-AlGaN on bulk AlN emitting at 270nm (a 2-3x improvement of state of the art) – even though process optimization is still underway.

Single and double heterostructure UV LEDs based on the ARL active layer on various substrate materials have been built and tested indicating that the IQE gains can be translated into overall emitter efficiency gains.


  • High internal efficiency: Demonstrated active emitting region IQE levels over 50% should lead to significant overall efficiency improvements
  • Inherently resistant to structural defects: ARL’s active region material is more robust and forgiving than competing materials when combined with non-native substrates
  • Versatile growth: Does not require non-polar growth orientations which significantly improve external quantum efficiencies in UV LED devices
  • Room temperature operation: Performs well in real-world temperature conditions

Status and Opportunity:

  • US patents 8,564,014, 7,812,366, and 7,498,182 are available for license and commercialization
  • Potential for collaboration with US Army Research Laboratory invention team

Supplemental Technical Information:

For more information, contact:
Austin Leach, PhD | | (406) 994-7707

Licensing Instructions:

In order to apply for license to federally owned technologies, regulations require that specific information be provided regarding your company and plans for commercialization. This information will be incorporated in a license agreement which will be provided for your review prior to signature. All provided information will be considered proprietary and held confidential.

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