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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X034542/1
Title: MEMS-metasurface Based Tunable Optical Vortex Lasers for smart free-space communication
Principal Investigator: Haas, Professor H
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 May 2023 Ends: 30 April 2026 Value (£): 311,088
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
META-LiFi will develop a novel optical wireless communication system as a response to the ever-increasing demand for wireless data transmission capabilities. In contrast to traditional approaches to use frequency, time or space to encode information, a new device will be developed that utilises the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of lightwaves as an additional degree of freedom to encode data. To this end, META-LiFi will develop a breakthrough miniaturised OAM emitter, which is suitable for power-efficient operation. Furthermore, it allows for a high degree of adaptability, and has the potential for large-volume production at low cost as well as serving as an enabling device for the next generation of intelligent free-space optical communication and Light-Fidelity (LiFi) networks. The ambitious challenges in relation to the design of the new communication system will be tackled by means of a multipronged approach delivering versatile, diverse, and high-quality OAM light sources that create modes with sufficient modal purity. This feature will be used to develop new adaptive digital data encoding techniques. First, active metasurfaces based on nano-opto-electro-mechanical systems (NOEMS) will be obtained. Second, the control of the wavefront in real-time through on-chip integration of MEMS-enabled active metasurfaces with vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) will be adopted for the generation of optical vortex lasers with tuneable topological charges. The proposed vortex lasers will enable a new type of ultra-compact and reconfigurable OAM laser array. This laser array will provide a mechanism for simultaneous transmission of independent data streams through the OAM modes. The number of channels can be dynamically varied which will provide the ability to adjust to varying communication channel conditions. Third, by combining this flexibility with the latest machine learning (ML) techniques supported by advanced artificial neural networks (ANNs), it will be possible to autonomously adapt the device operation to varying conditions stemming from a mobile deployment of the system. For instance, the communication channel may undergo rapid changes because of, for example, random and abrupt transmitter-receiver misalignments and random link blockages. In conclusion, META-LiFi will result in a timely development of intelligent optical wireless communication systems. META-LiFi will enable breakthrough improvements in digital data encoding for free-space communication. Furthermore, it provides a new class of active metasurfaces for integration in a single device. Thereby, META-LiFi will pave the way for high speed, intelligent free-space communications supporting applications across many industrial sectors.
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Organisation Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk