Gb/s underwater wireless optical communications using series-connected GaN micro-LED arrays

Georgios N. Arvanitakis, Rui Bian, Jonathan J. D. McKendry, Chen Cheng, Enyuan Xie, Xiangyu HE, Gang Yang, Mohamed Sufyan Islim, Ardimas A. Purwita, Erdan Gu, Harald Haas, Martin D. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
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High speed wireless communications are highly desirable for many industrial and scientific underwater applications. Acoustic communications suffer from high latency and limited data rates, while Radio Frequency communications are severely limited by attenuation in seawater. Optical communications are a promising alternative, offering high transmission rates (up to Gb/s), while water has relatively low attenuation at visible wavelengths. Here we demonstrate the use of series-connected micro-light-emitting-diode (μLED) arrays consisting of 6 μLED pixels either 60 μm or 80 μm in diameter and operating at 450 nm. These devices increase the output power whilst maintaining relatively high modulation bandwidth. Using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) we demonstrate underwater wireless data transmission at rates of up to 4.92 Gb/s, 3.22 Gb/s and 3.4 Gb/s over 1.5 m, 3 m and 4.5 m, respectively, with corresponding bit error ratios (BERs) of 1.5×10-3, 1.1×10-3 and 3.1×10-3, through clear tap water, and Mb/s rates through >5 attenuation lengths (ALs) in turbid waters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7901210
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Photonics Journal
Issue number2
Early online date13 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


  • underwater optical communications
  • GaN
  • micro-light-emitting diode arrays
  • turbid waters


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