High speed GaN micro-light-emitting diode arrays for data communications

Scott Watson, Jonathan J.D. McKendry, Shuailong Zhang, David Massoubre, Bruce R. Rae, Richard P. Green, Erdan Gu, Robert K. Henderson, A. E. Kelly, Martin D. Dawson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Micro light-emitting diode (micro-LED) arrays based on an AlInGaN structure have attracted much interest recently as light sources for data communications. Visible light communication (VLC), over free space or plastic optical fibre (POF), has become a very important technique in the role of data transmission. The micro-LEDs which are reported here contain pixels ranging in diameter from 14 to 84μm and can be driven directly using a high speed probe or via complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology. The CMOS arrays allow for easy, computer control of individual pixels within arrays containing up to 16×16 elements. The micro-LEDs best suited for data transmission have peak emissions of 450nm or 520nm, however various other wavelengths across the visible spectrum can also be used. Optical modulation bandwidths of over 400MHz have been achieved as well as error-free (defined as an error rate of 1x10-10) data transmission using on-off keying (OOK) non-return-to-zero (NRZ) modulation at data rates of over 500Mbit/s over free space. Also, as a step towards a more practical multi-emitter data transmitter, the frequency response of a micro-LED integrated with CMOS circuitry was measured and found to be up to 185MHz. Despite the reduction in bandwidth compared to the bare measurements using a high speed probe, a good compromise is achieved from the additional control available to select each pixel. It has been shown that modulating more than one pixel simultaneously can increase the data rate. As work continues in this area, the aim will be to further increase the data transmission rate by modulating more pixels on a single device to transmit multiple parallel data channels simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnmanned/Unattended Sensors and Sensor Networks IX
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
EventUnmanned/Unattended Sensors and Sensor Networks IX - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Sep 201227 Sep 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceUnmanned/Unattended Sensors and Sensor Networks IX
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • complementary metal-oxide- semiconductor (CMOS)
  • GaN
  • Micro-light-emitting-diodes (micro-LEDs)
  • modulation
  • visible light communication (VLC)


Dive into the research topics of 'High speed GaN micro-light-emitting diode arrays for data communications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this