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14 September 2016

LESA ERC develops high-speed VLC link with integrated microchip receiver

The Center for Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA), an Engineering Research Center (ERC) funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) headquartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, recently achieved what is claimed to be the first high-speed, error-free, long-reach visible-light transmission link with a fully integrated microchip receiver.

These first-of-a-kind integrated results are said to advance the use of the unregulated visible spectrum in high-speed wireless systems. As demand for mobile wireless services continues to grow, and the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies expands, visible light communication (VLC) is emerging as a potential broadband transmission technology that will offer virtually unlimited spectrum for high-quality wireless services.

VLC is reckoned to have the potential to add significant value to existing lighting infrastructure, enabling cost-effective, high-bandwidth, wireless, lighting-enabled communications. As soon as LEDs replace conventional lighting, VLC can be employed in a wide variety of industrial, commercial and residential applications, says the LESA ERC (formerly the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center).

The low-cost, compact, integrated microchip receiver developed at the LESA ERC will enable the development of more advanced technology that can be used for applications such as imaging, indoor GPS, occupancy tracking, self-alignment, and the hand-over required for mobile wireless scenarios.

LESA says that, in conjunction with RF wireless technologies, VLC is a promising candidate for inclusion in future 5G communications platforms. It also opens the path to new applications in outdoor applications, such as building-to-building, streetlight-to-streetlight, vehicle-to-vehicle and industrial communications where current WiFi networking can suffer from interference issues. In particular, higher-frequency RF platforms (60GHz and millimeter wave) have characteristics that are very similar to light-based communications (e.g. line of sight, limited ability to penetrate certain materials), making VLC-based platforms a contender for advanced high-bandwidth wireless communications.

Tags: LEDs

Visit: www.lesa.rpi.edu

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