Organic solar cells as high-speed data detectors for visible light communication

Shuyu Zhang, Dobroslav Tsonev, Stefan Videv, Sanjay Ghosh, Graham Turnbull, Ifor D. W. Samuel, Harald Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We show that solar cells, widely used in portable devices for power generation, can simultaneously extract a high-speed data signal in an optical wireless communication link. This Letter reports, to the best of our knowledge, the first use of an organic solar cell as an energy-harvesting receiver for visible light communications (VLCs). While generating maximum power in the cell, the communication link can deliver a data rate of 34.2 Mbps with a bit error rate of 4.08×10−4 using an implementation of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing. This approach could lead to printed optical data receivers in future eco-friendly VLC systems. Simultaneous functions of data communication and energy harvesting have great implications for the connectivity of future smart devices, many of which could become self-powered units as part of the “Internet of Things.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-610
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2015


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