What happens to the semiconductor in an LED when it is given a voltage that it cannot handle?

If I set a voltage that is much higher than the rated one, what exactly will happen to the semiconductor?

When the instantaneous power far exceeds the rated power of the device, the device chip will suffer electrical overstress (EOS) damage. Mild electrical overstress will cause leakage in the protective layer of the diode PN junction chip. Severe over-electrical stress will cause thermal breakdown failure of the chip.

More reading: Analyzing The Cause of LED Dead Light From LED Light Package Technology

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