White laser light delivers data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

August 15, 2016 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
KAUST researchers have developed a nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light overcoming the data rate limitations of using LEDs in visible-light communication (VLC).

Many VLC applications require light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce white light. These are usually fabricated by combining a diode that emits blue light with phosphorous that turns some of this radiation into red and green light. However, this conversion process is not fast enough to match the speed at which the LED can be switched on and off.

"VLC using white light generated in this way is limited to about one hundred million bits per second," said KAUST Professor of Electrical Engineering Boon Ooi.

Instead, Ooi, , Associate Professor Osman Bakr and their colleagues use a nanocrystal-based converter that enables much higher data rates.

Even though Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are well established, a key advantage gained by shortening the wavelength of the electromagnetic waves used for transmitting information is that VLC makes use of parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are unregulated and is potentially more energy-efficient.

A nanocrystal-based material converts blue laser emission to white light for combined illumination and data communication. Image courtesy of KAUST.