The Workshop

    Visible Light Communications (VLC) is an emerging technology that utilizes the high-speed switching properties of white LED’s as a method of wireless data communication with data rates equivalent to conventional 802.11 wireless networks and additional benefits of:

  • Energy efficiency – uses LED lighting infrastructure with no additional power requirements

  • Wider spectrum – more capacity than WiFi frequency bands

  • Improved Security – does not penetrate beyond building walls

  • No electromagnetic interference – alleviates health concerns over RF transmissions

As LED’s increasingly displace incandescent lighting over the next few years, general applications of VLC technology are expected to include wireless Internet access, vehicle to vehicle communications, broadcast from LED signage, machine to machine communications etc.
The VLC technology also has potential in a number of specialized application areas including the following:


  • Hospital & Healthcare – enabling mobility and data communications in hospitals

  • Hazardous Environments – enabling data communications in environments where RF is potentially dangerous (such as Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals and Mining)

  • Commercial Aviation – enabling wireless data communications such as in flight entertainment and personal communications

  • Corporate and Organizational Security – enabling the use of Wireless Networks in applications where WiFi presents a security risk

  • WiFi Spectrum Relief – providing additional bandwidth in environments where unlicensed communication bands are congested

  • Green Computing – greater energy efficiency

  • Defense & Military Applications – enabling high data rate wireless communications within military vehicles and aircraft

  • Underwater communications – between divers and/or remote operated vehicles.


   Under the auspices of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Pennsylvania State University (PSU), Tufts University (TU) and the University of California-Riverside (UCR) are collaborating to establish an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, with PSU as the lead institution. This is a planning meeting to discuss the potentials to establish an interdisciplinary research Center, providing leadership to develop a new generation of environment-friendly (GREEN), extremely wideband optical wireless technology applications, employing solid-state devices for communications, networking, imaging and remote sensing applications.

   The primary goals of this workshop are to initiate formal partnership with various industry partners and research laboratories that have an interest in optical wireless applications designs, and to discuss fundamental issues and topics for research.
The envisioned Center has the potential to improve the profitability of industry and technical leadership of research Labs by developing new optical wireless devices that will improve the named applications and reduce energy consumption and pollution.
Some key member benefits are:

- Research agenda  influenced  by members

- Pre-competitive research results / technology transfer

- Semi-Annual members meetings / networking

- Quality access to faculty, students and facilities

- Professional development / outreach

             -Short courses

             - Conferences

             - Other educational opportunities

- Ongoing engagement and communications with Center

   The Center intends to attract a vertically integrated set of companies from device manufacturers to systems and networks integrators. As a major goal, the Workshop will undeniably set the directions for researching and developing the transformative potentials of infra-red, visible, and ultra-violet light, a new era of LED's, lasers, and other light sources, which will not only provide energy efficient lighting, but also offer a means for wireless broadband connectivity, human-vision-friendly imaging, and reliable distributed sensing. This is done through offering innovative designs, functionality and performance.


Who should attend

   The workshop will be of interest to engineers, leaders and executives in visionary companies that have a  goal to extend and enhance their products and services with newly designed optical sources, transmitters, detectors and receivers. The new field has a broad spectrum of applications, which include lighting, communications, sensing, surveillance, and imaging. Traditional light source manufacturers will have a great opportunity to find out how future LED sources can deliver more than just lighting. Communication engineers will have a more informed outlook of the high-bandwidth capability of LED and laser transmitters and receivers. Multi-gigabits wireless optical connectivity has the potential to enhance the functionality of data centers and server farms, reduce the operational costs by complementing clutters of cables and wires and save energy as a GREEN technology. Optics-based imaging and surveillance equipment manufacturers supplying the military and commercial markets will see new potentials in the projects that will be presented in the Workshop. These broad range of applications will also require revolutionary enabling technologies from advanced mixed and digital circuit designers.



About the Sponsor

National Science Foundation (NSF) is the leading government agency that sponsors research in multi-disciplinary science and engineering fields. NSF's Directorate of Engineering (Industrial Innovation and Partnerships) and Directorate of Computer & Information Science & Engineering collaborates on establishing Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers in new technology areas. According to I/U-CRC directory, there are 66 established and planned Centers around the nation, and 24 graduated Centers. Through various phases of funding I/U-CRCs, NSF facilitates a forum for academia and industry to join their forces together in investigating fundamental fields in science and engineering. The proposed I/U-CRC on Optical Wireless Applications has been endowed with an NSF planning grant to promote promising optical research through an exchange of future visions between universities and industries, which is imperative for its establishment.


Video Link to NSF I/UCRC Program


Workshop General Contact

Dr. Mohsen Kavehrad

W.L. Weiss Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director, CICTR

The Pennsylvania State University

229 EE West Building

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 865-7179

Email: mkavehrad@psu.edu


The Organizers

The Workshop is jointly organized by:




University scholars and researchers associated with the organizing Centers:


  • Dr. Mohsen Kavehrad,
    W.L. Weiss Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering,
    Pennsylvania State University.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Kane,
    Professor of Electrical Engineering,
    Pennsylvania State University.

  • Dr. Zhiwen Liu,
    Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering,
    Pennsylvania State University.

  • Dr. Shizhuo Yin,
    Professor of Electrical Engineering,
    Pennsylvania State University.


  • Dr. Valencia Joyner,
    Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
    Tufts University.

  • Dr. Thomas Vandervelde,
    John A. and Dorothy M. Adams Faculty Development Professor,
    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
    Tufts University.


  • Dr. Zhengyuan Xu,
    Professor of Electrical Engineering,
    University of California, Riverside.



Related News Links