Changes in electrical and thermal parameters of LED packages under different current and heating stresses

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Jayawardena, Adikaramge Asiri
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Electronic thesis
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Experiment results showed that the series electrical resistance went through four phases of change; including periods of latency, rapid increase, saturation, and finally a sharp decline just before failure. Formation of voids in the contact metallization was identified as the underlying mechanism for series resistance increase. The rate of series resistance change was linked to void growth using the theory of electromigration. The rate of increase of series resistance is dependent on temperature and current density. The results indicate that void growth occurred in the cap (Au) layer, was constrained by the contact metal (Ni) layer, preventing open circuit failure of contact metal layer. Short circuit failure occurred due to electromigration induced metal diffusion along dislocations in GaN. The increase in ideality factor, and reverse leakage current with time provided further evidence to presence of metal in the semiconductor. An empirical model was derived for estimation of LED package failure time due to metal diffusion. The model is based on the experimental results and theories of electromigration and diffusion.
A combined model that could estimate life of LED packages based on catastrophic failure of thermal and electrical contacts is presented for the first time. This model can be used to make a-priori or real-time estimation of LED package life based on catastrophic failure. Finally, to illustrate the usefulness of the findings from this thesis, two different implementations of real-time life prediction using prognostics and health monitoring techniques are discussed.
Furthermore, the experimental results showed that the thermal resistance of LED packages increased with aging time. A relationship between thermal resistance change rate, with case temperature and temperature gradient within the LED package was developed. The results showed that dislocation creep is responsible for creep induced plastic deformation in the die-attach solder. The temperatures inside the LED package reached the melting point of die-attach solder due to delamination just before catastrophic open circuit failure.
The goal of this dissertation is to identify electrical and thermal parameters of an LED package that can be used to predict catastrophic failure real-time in an application. Through an experimental study the series electrical resistance and thermal resistance were identified as good indicators of contact failure of LED packages. This study investigated the long-term changes in series electrical resistance and thermal resistance of LED packages at three different current and junction temperature stress conditions.
December 2013
School of Architecture
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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