UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Spherical transceivers for ultrafast optical wireless communications Jin, Xian; Hristovski, Blago A.; Collier, Christopher Michael; Geoffroy-Gagnon, Simon; Born, Brandon; Holzman, Jonathan F.


Optical wireless communications (OWC) offers the potential for high-speed and mobile operation in indoor networks. Such OWC systems often employ a fixed transmitter grid and mobile transceivers, with the mobile transceivers carrying out bi-directional communication via active downlinks (ideally with high-speed signal detection) and passive uplinks (ideally with broad angular retroreflection and high-speed modulation). It can be challenging to integrate all of these bi- directional communication capabilities within the mobile transceivers, however, as there is a simultaneous desire for compact packaging. With this in mind, the work presented here introduces a new form of transceiver for bi-directional OWC systems. The transceiver incorporates radial photoconductive switches (for high-speed signal detection) and a spherical retro-modulator (for broad angular retroreflection and high-speed all-optical modulation). All-optical retro- modulation are investigated by way of theoretical models and experimental testing, for spherical retro-modulators comprised of three glasses, N-BK7, N-LASF9, and S-LAH79, having differing levels of refraction and nonlinearity. It is found that the spherical retro-modulator comprised of S-LAH79, with a refractive index of n ≈ 2 and a Kerr nonlinear index of n₂ ≈ (1.8 ± 0.1) × 10-¹⁵ cm²/W, yields both broad angular retroreflection (over a solid angle of 2π steradians) and ultrafast modulation (over a duration of 120 fs). Such transceivers can become important elements for all-optical implementations in future bi-directional OWC systems.

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