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LiFi Research and Development Centre moves to Strathclyde

A leading research centre dedicated to the development of light-based communications technology has relocated to the University of Strathclyde from its former base in Edinburgh.

The LiFi Research and Development Centre (LRDC) has made the move from the University of Edinburgh and is now hosted in Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre. It forms part of the Institute for Sensors, Signals and Communications within Strathclyde’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.  

The LRDC is dedicated to accelerating the development of light-based communications (LiFi) as a major global industry, through the creation of a pipeline of innovative ideas, technologies, products and partnerships.

LiFi technology is a ground-breaking technology which makes use of light waves instead of radio waves to deliver data.

Using the visible light spectrum, LiFi technology can transmit data and unlock new spectrum which is three orders of magnitude larger than the entire radio frequency spectrum. Light is more secure, as lightwaves can be easily controlled spatially and they do not propagate through walls. In addition, visible light is plentiful, free and unlicensed, mitigating the radio spectrum frequency crunch effect.

Real-world application

The technology has real-world application potential in cellular communications, cyber-security and defence, electromagnetic sensitive environments, augmented reality, localised advertising, underwater communications and indoor navigation.

The LRDC complements Strathclyde’s strong research base in 5G communications, photonics, quantum technologies and physics.

LRDC Director, Professor Harald Haas, who coined the term LiFi, said: “The University of Strathclyde provides the perfect environment for us to continue with our fundamental research on optical wireless communications and LiFi.

“It allows us to tap into and to drive the development of an industrial eco-system around LiFi which is an essential element to ensure its wider adoption. I am thrilled that my team and I can join a leading technological University that has a proven track record of launching innovative, sustainable, and pioneering developments in high-tech fields.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “I am delighted to welcome Harald and his team at the LiFi Research and Development Centre to the University of Strathclyde.

“The expertise the Centre brings will complement the cutting-edge research we have here, especially in the field of 5G, and will further enhance our offering to and collaborations with our industry partners.”

Professor Campbell Booth, Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Harald and his team to the Department at Strathclyde, and I am very much looking forward to supporting and witnessing his team’s continued and growing success in the area of LiFi.

LiFi is a fantastic innovation, already operating and delivering benefits in several domains, and with real potential to deliver truly global impact.

“It is great that Harald has joined us, and I am very excited about the opportunities for collaboration and growth within both our department and the University, which already is host partner to the Scotland 5G Centre, and of course, externally, with a wide range of industry, government and academic partners and funding agencies.”  

The LRDC comprises the director, a personal assistant, director of engineering, three engineers and nine post-doctoral researchers.