KAUST Discovery - Unleashing ultraviolet brings visible improvement

Xiaobin Sun operates a 375-nm UV laser for scattering ultraviolet light for nonline-of-sight communication.
© 2018 KAUST

Military and civil authorities could benefit from secure optical communication systems that use light to carry messages between moving vehicles. Researchers at KAUST have now demonstrated rapid data transfer using ultraviolet-B (UV-B) light, which provides many advantages over visible light.

Optical communications systems using visible lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) suffer from interference due to the high levels of visible light in sunlight. What’s more, the transmitter and receiver must be aligned very precisely, which is very difficult for vehicles on the move.

“Accurate beam alignment for point-to-point (or line-of-sight) optical communication is challenging—slight movements of just a few millimeters might break the communication link,” says Ph.D. student Xiaobin Sun who worked on the project with professors Boon Ooi and Slim Alouini, alongside other coworkers at KAUST and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. “This problem motivates us to look for a non-line-of-sight communication system.”

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