We study the electroluminescence (EL) emission of purely n-doped resonant tunneling diodes in a wide temperature range. The paper demonstrates that the EL originates from impact ionization and radiative recombination in the extended collector region of the tunneling device. Bistable currentvoltage response and EL are detected and their respective high and low states are tuned under varying temperature. The bistability of the EL intensity can be switched from direct to inverted with respect to the tunneling current and the optical on/off ratio can be enhanced with increasing temperature. One order of magnitude amplification of the optical on/off ratio can be attained compared to the electrical one. Our observation can be explained by an interplay of moderate peak-to-valley current ratios, large resonance voltages, and electron energy loss mechanisms, and thus, could be applied as an alternative route towards optoelectronic applications of tunneling devices.

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Copyright © AIP Publishing. This article first appeared in Journal of Applied Physics 122:15 (2017), 1-6.

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