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An ultraviolet light-emitting diode with peak emission wavelength at 340 nm is reported. The active layers of the device were comprised of quaternary AlInGaN/AlInGaN multiple quantum wells, which were deposited over sapphire substrates using a pulsed atomic-layer epitaxy process that allows precise control of the composition and thickness. A comparative study of devices over sapphire and SiC substrates was done to determine the influence of the epilayer design on the performance parameters and the role of substrate absorption. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.