A Solar Cell Photo-Luminescence Modulator for Optical Communications

Walter D. Leon-Salas, Xiaozhe Fan, Miguel Vizcardo, Mauricio Postigo-Malaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a circuit suitable for the modulation of the photo-luminescent radiation of a solar cell. The circuit uses a MOSFET and a low-power amplifier in a feedback loop and acts as a variable load to the solar cell. By controlling the current drawn from the solar cell, the proposed circuit is able to set the solar cell’s voltage to any value between 0 V and the open circuit voltage. A circuit analysis of the modulator is presented along with experimental validation. As a proof of concept, a hardware prototype was built to demonstrate an optical communication link with the proposed modulator and a GaAs solar cell. Measurement results show that a bit error rate of 3.54×10-4 can be achieved at a rate of 40 kbps and at a distance of 30 cm.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Capacitance
  • Gallium arsenide
  • Light emitting diodes
  • Modulation
  • modulation.
  • optical communications
  • Optical receivers
  • photo-luminescence
  • Photovoltaic cells
  • solar cells
  • Voltage


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