Using LED Lights for Data Transmission
I’m what you call a voracious reader. I read about a wide range of topics. I prefer to read about gadgets and advances in technology but keep an eye on pretty much everything — I’ve even been known to read my husband’s Triathlete’s World magazine (not that there is ever a danger of me wanting to do a tri … I just like knowing what’s going around me in the world). Anyway, last week I heard about a new advancement in LED technology. It seems that the good folks at Boston University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have been very busy developing technology that lets you use LED lights to transfer data. I know what you’re thinking … we already have wireless devices and Bluetooth which seem to do the job just fine. But then we’d be missing the point. Think about it: you need to illuminate office spaces anyway so why not use the same device to network PCs and print documents? It’s a great green initiative if you ask me.
LED lights use a lot less energy than their conventional counterparts. They last longer (the useful life for white LEDs can range from 6,000 hours to more than 50,000 hours) and they are cheaper to run. So the cost to the environment and to the pocketbook is a lot less. The only issue with them is heat. LED lights give off 91% of the energy they consume as heat and excess heat directly affects bulb output/useful life. Therefore, thermal management should be a critical factor during the design stage. We have already touched upon several resources for the design engineer working on LEDs covering simulation and LEDs, namely a whitepaper named Solving the System-Level Thermal Management Challenges of LEDs and an on-demand presentation titled: Design for Longevity in Your Power LED Products. But what we haven’t talked about is physical testing of LEDs. Physical testing of LEDs can be very helpful because simulation results are only as good as the data used. So accessing accurate measurements to use as source input for simulation is extremely valuable.
If you are interested in physical testing of LEDs, then you might want to read When Designing with Power LEDs, Consider Their Real Thermal Resistance. The whitepaper briefly shows why the recommendations of JEDEC JESD51 and CIE 127-2007 should be combined to obtain more accurate results. I’m sure you’ll find it helpful. I should also point out that we’ll be adding a few educational sessions on hardware testing soon so if you’re interested in the topic, please check with our events page on a regular basis.
Until next time,