6-W Optical Power Link with Integrated Optical Data Transmission
6-W Optical Power Link with Generic Voltage Output and Integrated Optical Data Transmission
This article demonstrates a fiber-based power-by-light system that is capable of delivering up to 6.2 W of continuous electrical power at common voltages of 3.3 and 5 V. This optical link includes bidirectional optical communication, for which the data stream from the base to the remote unit is realized by amplitude modulation of the laser beam over the same fiber. At the remote unit, a gallium arsenide-based photovoltaic (PV) laser power converter receives and converts the light. The data are demodulated with a dedicated electric circuit, while the power is forwarded to a dc-dc boost converter. The optical data uplink is realized over a separate optical fiber. In operation, a PV conversion efficiency of above 50% has been measured. For downlink data rates up to 115.2 kb/s, unperturbed signal integrities are demonstrated, at higher data rates, the signal integrity deteriorates. An assessment of power budget and power losses in the overall system is presented. Finally, a smart power management concept is introduced, which controls the laser output power with respect to changing electrical load, optimizes the operating point of the PV cell, and, thus, increases system efficiency for varying load operation. Thereby, it also minimizes laser and PV cell operating temperatures, and eventually prolongs the lifetime of the system.