Traditional visible light communication (VLC) uses positive-intrinsic-negative photodiode (PD) or avalanche PD as the optical receivers (Rx). We demonstrate using a solar cell as the VLC Rx. The solar cell is flexible and low cost and converts the optical signal into an electrical signal directly without the need of external power supply. In addition to acting as the VLC passive Rx, the converted electrical signal from the solar cell can charge up the battery of the Rx nodes. Hence, the proposed scheme can be a promising candidate for the future Internet of Things network. However, a solar cell acting as a VLC Rx is very challenging, since the response of the solar cell is limited. Here, we propose and demonstrate using predistortion to significantly enhance the solar cell Rx response for the first time up to the authors' knowledge. Experimental results show that the response of the solar cell Rx is significantly enhanced; and the original 2-kHz detection bandwidth of the solar cell can be enhanced by 250 times for receiving 500-kbit/s VLC signal at a transmission distance of 1m. The operation principle, the generated voltage by the solar cell, and the maximum data rates achieved at different transmission distances are also studied.
- optical communications
- optical wireless communication
- passive optical receiver
- visible light communication