We reported on the design, demonstration, and analysis of white lighting systems based on GaN laser diodes. Compared to light-emitting-diodes (LEDs), lasers have been proposed for the development of high-power light sources for many potential advantages, including circumventing efficiency droop, reduced light emitting surface, directional beam characteristics. Laser-based white light sources are also attractive for visible light communication (VLC) applications that enabling lighting and communication dual functionalities. In this work, we detailed the color-rendering index (CRI), correlated color temperature (CCT), and luminous flux analysis of laser white light sources by using the GaN laser diode exciting color converters at various driving conditions. By using a blue-emitting laser exciting a yellow YAG phosphor crystal, a luminous flux greater than 600 lm has been achieved with a moderate CRI of 67.2. By constructing a white lighting system using phosphor crystal array based on a reflection configuration, an improved CRI of 74.4 and a luminous flux of ~400 lm with a CCT of 6425 K was obtained at 3A. Using a novel ceramic phosphor plate as color converter, the CRI for the white light source has been further improved to ~ 84.1 with a CCT of ~ 4981 K, which suggests that the laser-based white light source is capable of high-quality illumination applications. The CCT of the white laser sources can be engineered from 5000 K to 6500 K and a potential approach to use laser array for high power white lighting is discussed.
High-speed visible light communications (VLC) has been identified at an essential part of communication technology for 5G network. VLC offers the unique advantages of unregulated and secure channels, free of EM interference. Compared with the LED-based VLC transmitter, laser-based photonic systems are promising for compact, droop-free, and high-speed white lighting and VLC applications, ideal for ultra-fast 5G network and beyond. Besides the potential for achieving high data rate free-space communication links, i.e. the Li-Fi network, laser-based VLC technology can also enable underwater wireless optical communications (UWOC) for many important applications. In this paper, the recent research progress and highlights in the fields of laser-based VLC and UWOC have been reviewed with a focused discussion on the performance of various light sources, including the modulation characteristics of GaNbased edge emitting laser diodes (EELDs), superluminescent diodes (SLDs) and vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). Apart from the utilization of discrete components for building transceiver in VLC systems, the development of III-nitride laser-based photonic integration has been featured. Such on-chip integration offers many advantages, including having a small-footprint, high-speed, and low power consumption. Finally, we discuss the considerations of wavelength selection for various VLC and UWOC applications. Comparison of infrared (IR) and visible lasers for channels with high turbulence and the study of ultraviolet (UV) and visible lasers for non-line-of-sight (NLOS) communications are presented.
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