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Microscopic Leds Could Speed ­p Wireless Communication

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LED lamp

LED lights could one day be replaced by arrays of micron-sized LEDs that can transmit data and power as well as provide illumination.

Credit: EPSRC

British researchers believe microscopic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could make wireless communication even faster. A team led by Strathclyde University is developing a visible light communication system that transmits data via the flickering of micron-sized LEDs at speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second per square meter of floor area. The researchers say the technology also could be a potentially less expensive alternative to traditional wireless systems that does not take up space in the radio spectrum and could be used in places radio signals are not allowed, such as in parts of hospitals or on aircraft.

Micron-sized LEDs made from gallium nitride can transmit data faster than conventional white LEDs because they can flicker on and off about 1,000 times faster, and 1,000 of them can fit into the same space as a single conventional bulb, which means bandwidth can increase by a total factor of 1 million over a similar area.

The researchers note visible light communication also could be used to add data transmission to traditional light sources. As a result, the technology could enable cars to communicate with each other via their headlights.

From The Engineer 
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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