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An LED device having plasmonically enhanced emission is provided. The device includes an inverted LED structure with a coating of metal nanoparticles on the surface chosen to match the plasmonic response to the peak emission from the active quantum well (QW) emission region of the LED. The active QW emission region is separated from the metal nanoparticles on the surface by a thin n-type contact layer disposed on a top side of the active QW emission. A p-type layer is disposed immediately beneath the active QW emission region and injects holes into the active QW emission region. The n-type contact layer is sufficiently thin to permit a coupling of the surface plasmons (SPs) from the metal nanoparticles and the excitons in the active QW emission region. The SP-exciton coupling provides an alternative decay route for the excitons and thus enhances the photon emission from the LED device.