SCIENCE CHINA Information Sciences, Volume 61, Issue 8: 080404(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-018-9391-1

Photonic integration technologies for indoor optical wireless communications

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  • ReceivedJan 12, 2018
  • AcceptedMar 5, 2018
  • PublishedJul 9, 2018


Indoor optical wireless communication (OWC) using steerable infrared beams is regarded as an important component in future 5G network. Photonic integration technologies can meet the criteria of such application, and provide low-cost, high-performance and very compact chips. In this paper, we review the recent development of photonic integration technologies suitable for indoor OWC application, and discuss in detail the current status and future opportunities of several key devices, such as the chip to free space couplers, integrated receivers and transmitters.


This work was supported by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Gravitation Project Integrated Nanophotonics, and European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant Projects NOLIMITS (Grant No. 291439) and BROWSE (Grant No. 291632).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Schematic illustration of typical (a) generic InP platform [13]@Copyright 2018 IOP, (b) InP/Si heterogeneous laser/amplifier [22]@Copyright 2018 OSA, and (c) InP membrane laser/amplifier [27].

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Structures of (a) a weak grating coupler in monothic InP platform [28]@Copyright 2018 IEEE, (b) a compact grating coupler in silicon photonic platform [30]@Copyright 2018 IEEE, (c) a metallic grating coupler in InP membrane platform using double-side processing technology [31]@Copyright 2018 OSA and (d) a polarization diversity grating coupler [32]@Copyright 2018 IEEE.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) (a) Schematic illustration of polymer-based microlens integrated with waveguides [42]@Copyright 2018 OSA and (b) simplified process mechanism.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) (a) Schematic illustration and (b) maximum predicted capacity of TI-PDs and novel cascaded receivers [11]@Copyright 2018 IEEE.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Pictures of the fabricated cascaded receiver using a UTC photodetector and a surface grating coupler [11,47]@Copyright 2018 IEEE. (a) Complete device, (b) surface grating coupler and (c) UTC photodetector.

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) Pictures of the high-performance lasers realized on generic InP platforms, with (a) record-wide tuning range in a single chip [55]@Copyright 2018 IEEE, (b) fast wavelength continuous sweep[57,58], and (c) wide optical combs [59]@Copyright 2018 OSA.

  • Figure 7

    (Color online) Layouts of the (a) fully integrated 1D phased array with additional wavelength steering [28]@Copyright 2018 IEEE, (b) 2D phased array using silicon photonic technology [63]@Copyright 2018 OSA.

  • Figure 8

    (Color online) Schematic illustration of the reconfigurable optical wireless transceiver proposed in [72]. (a) Receiver mode and (b) transmitter mode.

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