Ultra-parallel visible light communications (UP-VLC)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Inst of Photonics

Abstract

We are on the verge of a global revolution in lighting, as efficient and robust light emitting diode (LED) based 'solid state lighting' (SSL) progressively replaces traditional incandescent and even fluorescent lamps and finds its way into new areas including signage, illumination, signalling, consumer electronics, building infrastructure, displays, clothing, avionics, automotive, sub-marine applications, medical prosthetics and so on. This technology has tended to be viewed, so far, primarily as a way to improve energy- and spectral-efficiency, but what has been relatively little studied or appreciated is its profound implications for the future of communications.
We envisage the tremendous prospect of an entirely new form of high bandwidth communications infrastructure to complement, enhance and in some cases supercede existing systems. This LED-based technology will utilise the visible spectrum, largely unused for communications at present and more than 10,000 broader than the entire microwave spectrum. This promises to help address the 'looming spectral crisis' in RF wireless communications and to permit deployment in situations where RF is either not applicable (e.g. in underwater applications) or undesirable (e.g. aircraft, ships, hospital surgeries), but the implications are more fundamental even than that. The key point, in our view, is that lighting, display, communications and sensing functions can be combined, leading to new concepts of 'data through illumination' and 'data through displays'. Imagine, for example, a 'smart room', where 'universal illuminators' provide high-bandwidth communications, sensors monitoring the environment and people within it, provide positioning information and display functions, and monitor the quality of the light. Imagine novel forms of personal communications system that combine display functions and video with multiple, high-bandwidth communications channels. These could be through mobile personal communicators (developments of mobile phones or personal digital assistants) or even wearable and mechanically flexible displays.
Our ambitious programme seeks to explore this transformative view of communications in an imaginative and foresighted way. The vision is built on the unique capabilities of gallium nitride (GaN) optoelectronics to combine optical communications with lighting functions, and especially on the capability of the technology to implement new forms of spatial multiplexing, where individual elements in high-density arrays of LEDs provide independent communications channels, but can combine as displays. We envisage ultra-high data density - potentially Tb/s/mm2 - arrays of LEDs in compact and versatile forms, and will develop novel transceiver technology on this basis on both mechancially rigid and mechanically flexible substrates. We will explore the implications of this approach for multi-channel waveguide and free-space optical communications, establishing guidelines and fundamental assessments of performance which will be of long-term significance to this new form of communications.

Planned Impact

The UP-VLC programme proposes new types of intelligent and embedded communications infrastructure to address issues of great societal importance that also represent clear commercial opportunities (as our Letters of Support make clear). There is therefore considerable scope for Impact from the programme in terms of knowledge exchange with industry, and engagement with learned bodies, government and the general public on issues as diverse as energy efficient lighting and communciations, environmental management and monitoring, sustainability, widening access to 'the information society' and devolving personal communications.
Our interactions with industry will take place in three strands. The first is via the programme's Advisory and Monitoring Group (AMG) in which BAE Systems, Osram Opto Semiconductors, NEC, and Thorn Lighting, organisations with a strong commercial and operating base in the UK or Europe, will be involved. The second is via the wider group of committed project collaborators, including Compound Semiconductor Technologies, Bell Labs Ireland, ST Microelectronics, EV Group, Micro Resist Technology, and Avago, each of which have expressed interest in particular aspects of the programme which align with their business development plans. The third strand is industry more generally, with which we will engage via a concerted programme of Open Days, showcase events, general and trade-press briefings, trade shows etc. We will underpin our interactions with industry via professional handling of intellectual property (IP), including both 'know how' and patents, in which all investigators have string track records and many years' experience. The investigators also have considerable, direct experience in start-up company formation, and an important component of our Impact strategy will be to contionue to look for appropriate opportunities for the formation of such new enterprises.
A key factor in maximising benefit from our engagement with industry will be the University of Strathclyde's Technology and Innovation Centre. This £100 million initiative involves flexible and multi-disciplinary working with industry via new approaches and mechanisms, and co-location of industrial and academic research groups in a new and dedicated building. Prof. Dawson is the Academic Director of TIC with responsibility for Photonics, and he and several colleagues are planning the launch in 2012 of an Intelligent Lighting Centre (ILC) which will facilitate industrial engagement and knowledge exchange in solid state lighting and will provide a major interface and support to UP-VLC.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This programme combined UK research strengths in nitrides, organic semiconductors, CMOS electronics and communications systems engineering to demonstrate new capabilities in communicating data via visible light - an area urgently required to complement existing WiFi. We have shown that multi-Gb/s visible light communications is possible using gallium nitride LEDs and explored novel multiplexing schemes with this technology for the first time.
Exploitation Route We have set international benchmarks for performance of VLC devices and links and reported this widely at conferences, in the academic literature and at dedicated community meetings (e.g. Science for a Successful Nation). An example of the attention this has brought is over 350 citations (Google Scholar) for a paper we published on 3Gb/s performance from a gallium nitride LED. The findings are therefore widely disseminated for ourselves and others to build on. In early 2017, a 40-page invited review of the use of gallium nitride micro-pixel LEDs was published in Semiconductor Science and Technology.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics

URL https://up-vlc.photonics.ac.uk
 
Description This programme has formed the focus for UK research in visible light communications. Organisations including BAE Systems and OSRAM have been directly kept abreast of the progress via their membership of the project's advisory board. This has led to broader industrial engagement including direct contract work with companies including Thales, plus Quantum Technology Hub partnership projects with Aralia Syatems and Clyde Space. Our programme has come to wide attention through e.g. EPSRC Science for a Successful Nation and Connected Nation events. In May 2016 we held an extremely successful Open Day in London, with Nobellist Prof Amano as a closing speaker. The project has generated two invitations for review papers in journals, one published so far in Semiconductor Science and Technology, plus an invited chapter for the advanced textbook Brilliant Nitrides (in preparation, publisher Cambridge University Press).
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description EPSRC
Amount £220,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H00274X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2010 
End 12/2012
 
Description EPSRC standard mode
Amount £788,984 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R005281/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2017 
End 07/2020
 
Description EPSRC standard mode
Amount £788,984 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R00689X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2017 
End 07/2020
 
Description OIC Futures Project
Amount £298,768 (GBP)
Organisation Dow Corning 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 04/2013 
End 04/2017
 
Description Terabit Bidirectional Multi-user Optical Wireless System (TOWS) for 6G LiFi
Amount £6,604,394 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S016570/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2023
 
Title A saturated red color converter for visible light communication using a blend of star-shaped organic semiconductors 
Description data for article 'a saturated red color converter for visible light communication using a blend of star-shaped organic semiconductors ' 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact fast red organic material that would be one of the three components for a white emitter in VLC 
URL https://risweb.st-andrews.ac.uk/portal/en/datasets/data-underpinning--a-saturated-red-color-converte...
 
Title Aging characteristics of blue InGaN micro-light emitting diodes at an extremely high current density of 3.5kAcm?2 
Description The data were measured and collected during the experiment. The software Origin was used to process the data. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact n/a 
 
Title CMOS-controlled micro-LED communications system performance data 
Description Electronic CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) controlled micro-LED performance data, bandwidth versus current, optical power versus current, and bit-error-ratio versus data rate data sets. Data sets are included in Excel formats within a ZIP file. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Unknown 
 
Title Captured Waveforms and Power Measurements for Quantised OFDM and PAM Experiments 
Description This dataset contains a series of .mat (MATLAB), .csv and .txt files, containing raw data created during the study of Quantised OFDM and PAM using a CMOS integrated micro-LED array. The data supports the findings in the paper "Quantised Optical Communications Using a Chip-Scale CMOS-Integrated GaN LED Array". 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title Characterisation of AlInGaP nanomembrane integrated InGaN light sources and of their use in visible light communication 
Description This dataset is made up of several .csv files that were created from Origin files. The csv files represent the data used in the graphs of the figures that can be found in the Optics Express paper entitled 'Visible light communication using InGaN optical sources with AlInGaP nano membrane downconverters'. The Figure a data file refers to is explicitly stated in its name. A description of what the data in these files represent is given in the read me file. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title Characteristics of GaN-based light emitting diodes with different thicknesses of buffer layer grown by HVPE and MOCVD 
Description GaN-based light emitting diodes (LEDs) have been fabricated on sapphire substrates with different thicknesses of GaN buffer layer grown by a combination of hydride vapor phase epitaxy and metalorganic chemical vapor deposition. We analysed the LED efficiency and modulation characteristics with buffer thicknesses of 12 ?m and 30 ?m. Further characterisation of the samples was performed using: cathodoluminescence hyperspectral imaging; Raman spectroscopy; photoluminescence spectroscopy; electroluminescence spectroscopy; and measurement of the modulation bandwidth. Further analysis of this data is presented in the paper by Tian et al, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics (2016). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact n/a 
 
Title Colloidal quantum dot PMMA composite - characterisation and visible light demonstration 
Description This data set was used in the preparation of the 2 page research paper abstract for IPC2016 entitled 'Colloidal quantum dot color converter for visible light communications'. Details of the dataset is described in the Readme file. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title Colloidal quantum dot with flex-glass encapsulation as color-converter for micro-LED source in visible light communications 
Description This dataset supports the manuscript (and its supplementary information document) entitled "1.4Gb/s optical wireless communications with ?LED-pumped colloidal quantum dots" submitted to Optica. The data is in the form of csv files and described in the read me file. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title Data for 'Development, performance and application of novel GaN-based micro-LED arrays with individually addressable n-electrodes' 
Description The dataset includes a figure in pptx format which was produced for the purposes of illustrating the fabrication process for the micro-LED arrays and schematic layout of the whole micro-LED array. The dataset includes figures in opj format which were produced for the purposes of demonstrating the electrical, optical and uniformity properties of the micro-LED array. The dataset includes a figure in png format which was produced for the purposes of demonstrating the visible-light communication application of the micro-LED array. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Unknown 
 
Title Data for: "Deep UV micro-LED arrays for optical communications" 
Description The data-set includes the results of I-V-L, modulation bandwidth and OFDM measurements of a deep UV micro-LED element. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact
 
Title Data for: "High-speed visible light communication based on a III-nitride series-biased micro-LED array" 
Description This dataset contains 5 files in .opj and .pdf formats that were created for the purposes to show the results we archived for the paper Â'High-speed visible light communication based on a III-nitride series-biased micro-LED arrayÂ'. The .opj file presents the current, voltage, optical power and modulation bandwidth characteristics. The .pdf files show the data rate performance assuming OOK, PAM-4 and OFDM schems. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact
 
Title Data for: "InGaN micro-LEDs integrated onto colloidal quantum dot functionalised ultra-thin glass" 
Description This data set contains four excel files relating to the graphs in Figure 1, 3, 4 and 5 respectively in the related paper. These are the raw (as measured) data corresponding to these graphs. Figure_1_dataset.xlsx contains data voltage, current and optical power of the LEDs, as well as spectral data (corresponding to figure 1 d), e) and f) respectively) Figure_3_dataset.xlsx contains spectral data for the 3 colour-converter samples presented in the paper (Figure 3a)) and optical power characteristics of the samples (figure 3b)) Figure_4_dataset.xlsx contains data on the losses in the samples Figure_5_dataset.xlsx contains data on the data transmission charactyeristics of the samples (Figure 5c)). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Unknown 
 
Title Data for: "MicroLED-based transceiver for visible light communications" 
Description This data set contains four excel files relating to the graphs in Figure 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively in the related paper. These are the raw (as measured) data corresponding to these graphs. Figure_3_dataset.xlsx contains data voltage, current and optical power of the transfer printed LEDs, as well as spectral data (corresponding to figure 3 d), e) and f) respectively) Figure_4_dataset.xlsx contains spectral data for the light received by the concentrator part of the transceiver sample. Figure_5_dataset.xlsx contains data on the data transmission and bite-error-rate (BER) characteristics of the device to demonstrate it as a transceiver. Figure_6_dataset.xlsx contains data on the data transmission and bit-error-rate (BER) characteristics of the device working as a relay. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Unknown 
 
Title Edge and spatially-dependent emission optical spectra for InGaN microLEDs integrated ultra-thin colloidal quantum dot functionalised glass 
Description Characterisation data of the emission of a format of hybrid microLED/colloidal quantum dot structure; utilised for the 2page research abstract for IPC2016 entitled: 'InGaN micro-LEDs integrated onto an ultra-thin colloidal quantum dot functionalized glass'. Details of the dataset is given in the read me file. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact not recorded 
 
Title Experimental data to support ICTON conference paper 'High-Bandwidth Organic Light Emitting Diodes for Ultra-Low Cost Visible Light Communication Links' 
Description Original data for plots etc. in paper 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None yer 
 
Title Gb/s single-LED OFDM-based VLC using violet and UV Gallium nitride µLEDs 
Description "This dataset regards the conference publication, both the paper and presentation. There's a total of 9 files, 3 in Matlab .mat format, 2 as text files and 4 as Matlab figure .fig files. Both the .mat and .txt files contain numbers with their respective names and units. The .fig files are the raw figures files used for the publication, they also contain data which can extracted using Matlab. All the files uploaded are named according to their context." 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title High bandwidth GaN-based micro-LEDs for multi-Gbps visible light communications 
Description "This dataset contains 4 files in Matlab .mat format and include everything used on the manuscript. The filenames given are describe the context of the data directly." 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title Laser-excited 580nm AlInGaP nanomembrane for visible light communications 
Description This data set was used in the preparation of the 3 page research paper abstract for Light, Energy and the Environment Congress entitled 'Laser-excited 580nm AlGaInP nanomembrane for visible light communications'. Details can be found in the Readme file. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title Luminescence dynamics of inorganic perovskite materials 
Description This dataset was used in the preparation of the 2 page research paper abstract for the IEEE Photonics Conference 2018 entitled 'Luminescence dynamics of CsPbBr3 quantum dot-based color converters'. More details can be found in the Readme file 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact
 
Title Optical society of America (OSA): solid state lighting (conference abstract submission) 
Description multi-color integrated devices fabricated by transfer printing for visible light communication applications. This dataset contains raw (as measured) data for all plots in the conference submission. The plots were from this data created in the software Origin. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not recorded 
 
Title Primary data for the fast-red polymer (BBEHBO-PPV) 
Description The dataset contains plots in origin formats (can be accessed by Origin Lab software), all the NMR spectra folders (created by TopSpin software developed by Bruker Biospin, can be accessed either with the latter or with Mestre Nova NMR data processing and presentation package (Mestrelab) or with ACD/Labs software) to be published as the paper (High modulation bandwidth polymer colour converter for visible light communications) along with the main manuscript and supporting information file in the Microsoft Office Word format with origin objects. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact n/a 
 
Title RGB CQD/PMMA colour-converter for LED-based VLC 
Description This data set is an erratum for the dataset ""Red, orange and green Flexi-glass CQD colour converters for LED-based VLC"". The title of the latter dataset is incorrect as the data describes CQD in PMMA composite and not in flexi-glass. Figure 3, which represents spectra calculation from a model in the publication IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics publication, VOL. 23, NO. 5, SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017, entitled: ""Gb/s Visible Light Communications With Colloidal Quantum Dot Color Converters"", has also been updated. The data of this Figure 3 is included here for information. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Unknown 
 
Title Red, or orange and green Flexi-glass CQD colour converters for LED-based VLC 
Description Note that the term ""Flexi-glass"" in the title of this dataset should instead read ""PMMA"" as the dat set relates to colloidal quantum dots incorporated into a PMMA matrix. The data is in the form of csv file, their names identified by the respective figure of the paper in which they are utilised. They represent data from the characterisation of colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) for colour-converting InGaN blue-emitting microsize light-emitting diodes (microLEDs) in visible light communications (VLC). They also include modeling data utilized in the discussion of the CQD material characteristics. Details of csv files are available in the Read_me file provided. Dataset associated with the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics manuscript entitled ""Gb/s visible light communications with colloidal quantum dot color converters"". Please note that Figure 3 and the related model for the spectrum calculation has been updated in the final publication. The data of the updated Figure 3 can be found in the Dataset ""RGB CQD?PMMA colour-converter for LED-based VLC"" 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Unknown 
 
Title Spatially Superposed Pulse Amplitude Modulation Using a Chip-Scale CMOS-Integrated GaN LED Array 
Description Data for figures shown in OSA (Optical Society of America) Light, Energy and the Environment Congress 2016. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact n/a 
 
Title Towards 10 Gb/s OFDM-based Visible Light Communication using a GaN Violet micro-LED 
Description The data-set includes the results of I-V-L, modulation bandwidth and OFDM measurements. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Unknown 
 
Description Joint research with University of Cambridge 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution University of Strathclyde researchers worked on this project with researchers from University of Cambridge
Start Year 2012
 
Description Joint research with University of Edinburgh 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution University of Strathclyde researchers worked on this project with researchers from University of Edinburgh
Start Year 2012
 
Description Joint research with University of Oxford 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Participation of team led by Prof O'Brien in an EPSRC Programme Grant
Collaborator Contribution Expertise as communications engineers, and specialists in visible light communications
Impact Please refer to co-authored publications
Start Year 2012
 
Description Joint research with University of St Andrews 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution University of Strathclyde researchers worked on this project with researchers from University of St Andrews
Start Year 2012
 
Description Joint research with University of St Andrews 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution University of Strathclyde researchers worked on this project with researchers from University of St Andrews
Start Year 2012
 
Description Project partnership with BAE Systems plc 
Organisation BAE Systems
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution BAE Systems plc worked with the research team and assisted/contributed to the project outcomes
Start Year 2012
 
Description Project partnership with Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd 
Organisation Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd worked with the research team and assisted/contributed to the project outcomes
Start Year 2012
 
Description Project partnership with Osram Opto Semiconductors 
Organisation Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Osram Opto Semiconductors worked with the research team and assisted/contributed to the project outcomes
Start Year 2012
 
Description Invited talk P.1.2 'III-nitride micro-LEDs for visible light communication at multi-Gb/s rates' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited talk in a multi-symposium meeting with 1200 attendees total
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017