Visible light communications (VLC) based on the combined use of LED-based solid-state lighting technology as both illumination and wireless data communications sources (‘data through a light-bulb’) is an area of intense international research interest. This field offers the very exciting prospect of so-called ‘LiFi’ – networked, lighting-based Datacom – to supplement and add entirely new capability to WiFi, but also opens up broader prospects interfacing to instrumentation, metrology and quantum technologies. A key research opportunity is this field is the potential of the underpinning gallium nitride (GaN) LED sources to interface to advanced electronics, especially in the case where the LEDs can be custom-designed with CMOS control in mind. We have been exploring the implications of CMOS-controlled pixelated LEDs for novel data encoding and spatial multiplexing at very high (multi-Gb/s) data rates, establishing world-leading performance (e.g. D. Tsonev et al. (2014): 130 Citations to date).
Beyond this, however, is the tantalising prospect of using these sources to locate and track objects and to target customised data streams or excitation/ranging beams towards different objects in multiple locations. This possibility exists because, under CMOS control, binary mask pattern sequences can be programmed onto suitably designed LED arrays which allow networked objects to ‘self-locate’. Once the source knows the location of the targets, it can then re-configure to direct beams of e.g. different data streams towards each. This project will build on early stage progress which has demonstrated the feasibility of these concepts, to (1) develop the novel GaN device technology required for these sophisticated ‘super-smart lighting’ demonstrations and (2) implement the necessary electronic interfacing and software development. It will (3) study the wavelength down-conversion of these pattern-programmable sources for such as white-light structured illumination and single-photon source structured illumination (patterned excitation of colour-centre-containing diamond) in conjunction with detection based on single photon sensitive avalanche photodiode (SPAD) photodetectors and cameras. As SPADs have already been shown both to act as effective quantum detectors and as advantageous communications detectors, there are exciting opportunities to link quantum technology and Datacom in this work.
How to apply
Applicants should send a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org