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Telecommunications and communicating objects
LiFi, which has been relegated to low-speed data transmission applications, could join the ranks of WiFi and 5G sooner than expected. Leti researchers' recent LiFi demonstrator set a new world record with a transmission speed of 7.7 Gbits/s.
LiFi dates back to the early 2000s. The technology takes advantage of the "flickering" of LED lamps (the same ones used for lighting) to convert data into an optical signal, which can then be transmitted. Miniaturizing the LEDs can increase bandwidth and, as a result, the amount of information that can be transmitted within a given unit of time. Leti had previously developed a very small (10 micrometer) LED for a microdisplay. The researchers working on this project decided to build a lab demonstrator with a single LED. It was this demonstrator that set the new speed record.
They now plan to improve the LED to push data transmission speeds to 10 Gbits/s. And they are already looking at what's next: Namely, a 12,000 micro-LED array to dramatically increase the system's optical transmission capacities and extend the range of the signal to several meters. Later, they will couple the micro-LED array with a CMOS array that can manage each pixel independently. This advance would make it possible to develop cheaper and more tightly-integrated LiFi components (with no digital-to-analog converter) and, of course, boost transmission speeds even higher.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.