At the University of Strathclyde, researchers are developing tiny LEDs that can deliver Wi-Fi-like internet access. Called Li-Fi (short for Light Fidelity), this system has the potential to transmit data several times faster than what we’re used to.
Professor Martin Dawson and his team created tiny LEDs, each about the size of an end of human hair, which flicker on and off thousands of times every second. By altering the length of these flickers, the lights can send digital information to computers and other electronic devices. Picture it as a sort of digital Morse code.
The micron-sized LEDs are made so small to allow for more data transmission at a faster rate. The university’s LEDs can flicker at a rate 1,000 times faster than larger LEDs. Why? Well, if you have 1,000 micron-sized LEDs, they can fit into the same space as a single 1mm LED. Each tiny LED acts as an individual communication channel, which allows the transmission of about a million times more data.
Suddenly, a large LED display, with each tiny LED acting as a pixel, can also allow internet communications.