Multifunctional Polymer Light-Emitting Diodes with Visible Light Communications (MARVEL)

Lead Research Organisation: Northumbria University
Department Name: Fac of Engineering and Environment

Abstract

With the dramatic increase in traffic carried by telecommunication networks, the demand for wireless resources (spectrum) is quickly outstripping its limited supply. Serious deterioration of service quality due to spectral congestion is becoming evident in high-density user scenarios, where users demand leads to a limited access. This problem is even worse in indoor applications where a lack of spectrum and a large number of users causes significant network slowdown. It is estimated that more than 70% of wireless traffic takes place in an indoor environment (home/office etc.). Thus, there is the need for reliable low-cost, high-capacity wireless technologies to ensure seamless indoor wireless connectivity at all times. Visible light communications (VLC) offers wireless connectivity using the visible band (~400 THz), which is a license free spectrum with high security and where its sources are used to provide lighting. VLC utilises semiconductor light emitting diodes (LED), which can be modulated at high speeds while providing a constant level of illumination. Traditionally, VLCs use inorganic LEDs as their transmitters' light sources. Such devices introduce significant drawbacks that have yet to be addressed, such as the inability to produce large panels due to the brittle and complex epitaxial processing methods that are expensive. Furthermore, to provide proper illumination, matrices of devices are required, thus introducing a significant circuit complexity. Other drawbacks include the inability to use flexible substrates that are attractive for mobile devices and the difficulties in producing devices with inherent different wavelengths. All of these disadvantages can be dealt with by replacing the commonly used inorganic metals by organic polymers as the semiconductor material of the LEDs. Polymer LEDs (PLEDs) can be manufactured using inexpensive wet processing methods at room temperature (such as inkjet printing) to produce single panel devices with large photoactive areas, at extremely low cost. Further, PLEDs can be deposited on a wide variety of substrate materials and with different shapes, allowing the development of a new generation of devices. Using a simple manufacturing process (one step deposition of different organic polymers) PLEDs may be designed to produce red, green and blue (RGB) light and then combined to allow the dual function of lighting and signal transmission.

Over the past decade, the teams applying for this grant have collectively demonstrated major successes in using organic (polymer) LEDs in VLC systems, with manufacturing, cost and operational advantages. Our previous work has led to several "world firsts" in terms of transmitted signal quality and bit rates, and our results were published at leading international journals and conferences.

In this proposal we will build on the existing strengths and varied expertise of our three team consortium. Specifically our research in inorganic semiconductors, optical component design and fabrication, electronic circuit design and communication systems integration, will be used to construct and demonstrate a new PLED based VLC proof of concept system, which includes novel device, circuit and system designs. We expect to achieve unprecedented VLC transmission speeds in realistic indoor environments. The project will study new methods of designing PLEDs and new optical techniques to maximise their light efficiency. New circuits and communication engineering techniques will be investigated to allow optimised coupling of electronic circuitry to PLEDs, overcoming some of PLEDs inherent data carrying limitations. We aim to assemble a complete system and test in in a specially designed test chambers of VLC.

In summary, we believe this work to be highly timely as it addresses the two key challenges; the design of systems operating in license free spectral bands and the provision of easy to manufacture and low cost organic optoelectronic devices.
 
Description Have developed a comprehensive system simulation module for the proposed project based on Matlab, where one can model sub-sections, section and the entire system prior to design and implementation. In addition, we have developed an experimental test bed, used for evaluation and assessment of all organic based visible light communication systems. This test bed is unique to this project. We have also developed new concept of multi-level modulation schemes and artificial neural network based equalizers in order to increase the transmission date rate. We have also carried out experimental investigation of multi-wavelength based visible light communication without using optical filtering at the receive in order to demultiplexed the colours (or wavelength). In addition, currently we are working of flexible organic light emitting diodes for illumination, display and data communications for indoor applications.
Exploitation Route The simulation model, the experimental test-bed, modulation schemes and equalisation techniques developed during the course of project could be used by other researcher, LED manufacturer, and others.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

 
Description European Training Network on Visible light based Interoperability and Networking - VisIoN
Amount £3,752,913 (GBP)
Funding ID 764461 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 05/2017 
End 08/2021
 
Description PhD studentship
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation Northumbria University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 08/2021
 
Description Relayed Free Space Optics for Train Operators (ROTOR)
Amount £65,250 (GBP)
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2018 
End 09/2021
 
Description Vehicle Internet Links using Infra-Red transmission of Information (VILIRI)
Amount £450,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 104240 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 12/2019
 
Title Dedictaed Test Bed for VLC 
Description A dedicated experimental test bed for evaluation of visible light communications system incorporating LABVIEW and MATLAB was developed. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A number of researchers from different research group both within and outside Europe have been coming over to use the facilities. 
URL http://soe.northumbria.ac.uk/ocr/
 
Title Drivers for OLED 
Description Developed drivers for single and multi-OLEDs for use in VLC systems. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The request for further information received via, emails, ResearchGate and Linkedin. 
 
Description m-CAP for VLC systems - CR 
Organisation Czech Technical University in Prague
Department Department of Electromagnetic Field
Country Czech Republic 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution - System analysis, and experimental evaluation.
Collaborator Contribution System simulation and measurements
Impact See publications list
Start Year 2016
 
Title OLED Characterisation 
Description Developed a comprehensive OLED electrical and optical characterisation setup. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Not at the moment. 
 
Title Simulation of all organic visible light communication systems 
Description We have developed a dedicated simulation software for the all organic based visible light communications, which can be used by the researchers for assessing and evaluation. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Too early to have an impact. 
 
Description Invited Leture - China 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact To introduce the latest research in Visible Light Communications and it applications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited talk at Aston University, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An overview on VLC and its applications
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited talk at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications, Dec. 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The talk covered the latest on research and development in the field of VLC and organic VLC at Norhumbria University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Keynote Talk on The hybrid Visible Light Communications and Optical Camera Communications for finance, health and business 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Introducing the topic of VLC to the helath care and business sectors as well as engineers and researcher working in he area of wireless communications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://ikt2019.itrc.ac.ir/
 
Description Keynote Talk on Visible Light Communications and its Applications 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a keynote talk at the 12th International Conference on Software, Knowledge, Information Management & Applications, 3-5 Dec. 2018, Cambodia, and the aim was to introduce the topic to software engineers and computer scientist.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.aconf.org/conf_165877.html