Optimal Photodetector Size for High-Speed Free-Space Optics Receivers

The selection of an optimal photodetector area is closely linked to the attainment of higher data rates in optical wireless communication receivers. If the photodetector area is too large, the channel capacity degrades due to lower modulation bandwidth of the detector. A smaller photodetector maximizes the bandwidth, but minimizes the captured signal power and the subsequent signal-to-noise ratio. Therein lies an opportunity in this trade-off to maximize the channel rate by choosing the optimal photodetector area. In this study, we have optimized the photodetector area in order to maximize the channel capacity of a free-space optical link for a diverse set of communication scenarios. We believe that the study in this paper in general -- and the closed-form solutions derived in this study in particular -- will be helpful to maximize achievable data rates of a wide gamut of optical wireless communication systems: from long range deep space optical links to short range indoor visible light communication systems.



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