High bandwidth GaN-based micro-LEDs for multi-Gbps visible light communications

Ferreira, Ricardo X. G. and Xie, Enyuan and Mckendry, Jonathan J. D. and Rajbhandari, Sujan and Chun, Hyunchae and Faulkner, Grahame and Watson, Scott and Kelly, Anthony E. and Gu, Erdan and Penty, Richard V. and White, Ian H. and O'Brien, Dominic C. and Dawson, Martin D. (2016) High bandwidth GaN-based micro-LEDs for multi-Gbps visible light communications. IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, 28 (19). pp. 2023-2026. ISSN 1041-1135 (https://doi.org/10.1109/LPT.2016.2581318)

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Gallium-nitride (GaN) based light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are highly-efficient sources for general purpose illumination. Furthermore, being semiconductor-based light sources, they are readily compatible with intelligent drive electronics. Visible light communications (VLC) is a technology which leverages these advantageous properties of GaN LEDs and can supplement existing wireless communications by offering a large, licence-free spectral bandwidth. Here we report on progress in the development of micro-scale GaN LEDs (micro-LEDs), optimised for VLC. These blue-emitting micro-LEDs are shown to have very high electrical-to-optical modulation bandwidths, exceeding 800~MHz. The data transmission capabilities of the micro-LEDs are illustrated by demonstrations using on-off-keying (OOK), pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM) and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation schemes to transmit data over free space at rates of 1.7, 3.4 and 5 Gb/s, respectively.