Free-space optical communication using mid-infrared or solar-blind ultraviolet sources and detectors

Ryan McClintock, Abbas Haddadi, Manijeh Razeghi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Scopus citations


Free-space optical communication is a promising solution to the "last mile" bottleneck of data networks. Conventional near infrared-based free-space optical communication systems suffer from atmospheric scattering losses and scintillation effects which limit the performance of the data links. Using mid-infrared, we reduce the scattering and thus can improve the quality of the data links and increase their range. Because of the low scattering, the data link cannot be intercepted without a complete or partial loss in power detected by the receiver. This type of communications provides ultra-high bandwidth and highly secure data transfer for both short and medium range data links. Quantum cascade lasers are one of the most promising sources for mid-wavelength infrared sources and Type-II superlattice photodetectors are strong candidates for detection in this regime. The same way that that low scattering makes mid-wavelength infrared ideal for secure free space communications, high scattering can be used for secure short-range free-space optical communications. In the solar-blind ultraviolet (< 280 nm) light is strongly scattered and absorbed. This scattering makes possible non-line-of-sight free-space optical communications. The scattering and absorption also prevent remote eavesdropping. III-Nitride based LEDs and photodetectors are ideal for non-line-of-sight free-space optical communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQuantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices IX
StatePublished - 2012
EventQuantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices IX - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2012Jan 26 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherQuantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices IX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • III-nitrides
  • Type-II
  • communications
  • free-space
  • infrared
  • quantum cascade laser
  • solar-blind
  • ultraviolet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Free-space optical communication using mid-infrared or solar-blind ultraviolet sources and detectors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this