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Optica Publishing Group
  • Journal of Lightwave Technology
  • Vol. 38,
  • Issue 15,
  • pp. 3822-3831
  • (2020)

Photovoltaic Solar Cells for Outdoor LiFi Communications

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Increasing demand of wireless devices contributes to radiofrequency (RF) congestion. Light Fidelity (LiFi) promises to be an interesting alternative by using the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum instead of the RF part as nearly all existing wireless transmission systems do. A basic LiFi system is composed of one intensity-controlled light-emitting diode (LED) and one receiver device sensitive to very high-frequency (thus invisible to human sight) modulations of the luminous intensity. In most cases, the photoreceptor is a silicon photodiode of PIN (P-type intrinsic N-type) or APD (Avalanche photodiode) conception. Recently, a few studies suggest that photovoltaic (PV) modules could be used to implement outdoor LiFi transmissions, i.e., under direct sunlight exposure. In this paper, we propose to compare the behavior of a PV module and a commercial APD-based photodetector (without any optical lens or colored filter) for experimental LiFi transmissions on both indoor and outdoor conditions. The performance of the two solutions is quantified in terms of various frequency responses like attenuation, signal-to-noise ratio, or bit-error rate. The results show that, while the photodiode exhibits very good performance in indoor conditions, its frequency response is rapidly deteriorating when a sunlight exposure of more than 200 W/m $^2$ is superimposed over the LiFi signal. We demonstrate that a PV module in $V_{oc}$ (open-circuit voltage) condition still operates a LiFi transmission under additional solar illumination.

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