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In this paper, high-power phosphor-converted white-light-emitting diodes (PC-LEDs) with selected concentration and thickness of cerium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Ce:YAG) phosphor-doped silicones are investigated to study the thermal-degradation effect of the Ce:YAG phosphor-silicone layer. The experimental results showed that the lumen loss, chromaticity (CIE shift), and spectrum intensity reduction increase as the concentration of Ce:YAG phosphor-doped silicone increases. Although silicone degradation attributed to the final thermal degradation, it is not a dominant factor until a much thicker silicone is employed in PC-LEDs. The major degradation mechanism of the PC-LEDs results from the higher doping concentration of Ce:YAG in silicone. We found that 94% lumen loss was attributed to 5.5 wt% Ce:YAG doping and only 6% of the lumen loss was due to a 1-mm thickness of silicone degradation. However, the negligible differences of measured fluorescent lifetimes among the test samples before and after thermal aging (at 150 degC for 500 h) eliminated any significant nonradioactive quenching processes that existed in the aged samples. The emission spectra indicate that a higher doping concentration in silicone causes a higher degree of loss at the emission wavelength of Ce:YAG. Therefore, minimizing any unwanted interactions, such as refractive index and thermal-expansion mismatches, between the phosphor and the silicone during thermal aging is a new direction of addressing thermal reliability for high-power PC-LEDs. From practical points of view, we found that a lower doping concentration of the Ce:YAG phosphor in thin silicone is a better choice in terms of having less thermal degradation for use in packaging of the high-power PC-LEDs modules and is essential to extend the operating lifetime of the phosphor-based white LED modules.
Device and Materials Reliability, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:9 , Issue: 3 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2009