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When biased in the negative differential resistance regime, electroluminescence (EL) is emitted from planar GaAs heterostructure Gunn diodes. This EL is due to the recombination of electrons in the device channel with holes that are generated by impact ionisation when the Gunn domains reach the anode edge. The EL forms non-uniform patterns whose intensity shows short-range intensity variations in the direction parallel to the contacts and decreases along the device channel towards the cathode. This paper employs Monte Carlo models, in conjunction with the experimental data, to analyse these non-uniform EL patterns and to study the carrier dynamics responsible for them. It is found that the short-range lateral (i.e., parallel to the device contacts) EL patterns are probably due to non-uniformities in the doping of the anode contact, illustrating the usefulness of EL analysis on the detection of such inhomogeneities. The overall decreasing EL intensity towards the anode is also discussed in terms of the interaction of holes with the time-dependent electric field due to the transit of the Gunn domains. Due to their lower relative mobility and the low electric field outside of the Gunn domain, freshly generated holes remain close to the anode until the arrival of a new domain accelerates them towards the cathode. When the average over the transit of several Gunn domains is considered, this results in a higher hole density, and hence a higher EL intensity, next to the anode.
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