Single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) VLC system and application to downhole monitoring

Yichen Li, Stefan Videv, Mohamed Abdallah, Khalid Qaraqe, Murat Uysal, Harald Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this paper, it is demonstrated for the first time that the problem of continuous downhole monitoring in the oil and gas industry is effectively addressed by the use of visible light communication (VLC). As a reliable, flexible and low-cost technique, VLC can fulfill a critical need of operators to maintain production efficiency and optimize gas well performance. The proposed VLC system makes use of a light emitting diode (LED) transmitter and a high sensitivity single photon detecting receiver referred to as single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD). The latter is instrumental in achieving long range communications, and the fact that ambient light is not present in a gas pipe is exploited. Specifically, the lack of ambient light enables high signal to noise ratio (SNR) at the receiver which operates in a photon counting mode. In this study, the bit error ratio (BER) performance of the system is simulated for a 4 kilometres long metal pipe. It is shown that the proposed system has superior power efficiency over conventional methods, which is important as it is assumed that the transmitter is battery operated. In addition, the theoretical BER performance is calculated and compared to the simulation results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7037119
Pages (from-to)2108-2113
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2014 - Austin, United States
Duration: Dec 8 2014Dec 12 2014


  • optical wireless communication (OWC)
  • photon counting receiver
  • single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD)
  • visible light communication (VLC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Signal Processing


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