Transmitter and receiver technologies for optical wireless

Dominic O’Brien, Sujan Rajbhandari, Hyunchae Chun

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Providing a reliable link, with sufficient signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and bandwidth to deliver high-capacity communications is a critical challenge for optical wireless (OW) communications and understanding and jointly optimizing the performance of the transmitter and receiver subsystems is a key part of this. At the transmitter a source of light, either a laser or a light-emitting diode, must be modulated with the communications signal. The resulting emission must be directed, using optics or steering systems, as required for the particular application, and must be within any safety levels set by relevant standards. The receiver is the most critical part of any optical link, as its design is a dominant factor in determining the received SNR, which determines the capacity and ultimately the utility of the link. A receiver must collect, filter and concentrate signal radiation, then detect and amplify the resulting electrical signal. This review surveys the state-of–the-art transmitter and receiver technologies. Details of design constraints are discussed, and potential future directions discussed. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Optical wireless communication’.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20190182
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
    Issue number2169
    Early online date2 Mar 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2020


    • Optical wireless
    • Visible light communications

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Mathematics(all)
    • Engineering(all)
    • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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