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Open Source Photonics

A. Background

LED is now so widely used in our life to provide various illumination that we almost forget that LED is essentially a photodiode, that is, it can respond to light.  Depending on the emitting wavelength of the LED, when the LED is stricken by photons with similar or shorter wavelengths, a tiny photo-current will be generated.  If we can measure this photo-current, we can then measure the photons striking on the LED.  Therefore, LED can be used both as a light emitter and as a light detector.  This allows us to realize low-cost two-way communication with a single LED.

For details of this please refer to Paul Dietz’s white paper “Very Low-Cost Sensing and Communication Using Bidirectional LEDs”  (http://www.merl.com/publications/docs/TR2003-35.pdf).

In this post, we will use an Arduino Nano board and a single LED to demonstrate this idea.

B. Materials

  1. Arduino Nano board x 1
  2. Breadboard x…

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