Unlocking Spectral Efficiency in Intensity Modulation and Direct Detection Systems

A number of inherently unipolar orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation schemes have been introduced recently in an attempt to improve the energy efficiency of OFDM-based intensity modulation and direct detection (IM/DD) systems. All such algorithms, including asymmetrically clipped opticalOFDM (ACO-OFDM), pulse-amplitude-modulated discrete multitone modulation (PAM-DMT) and unipolar orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (U-OFDM), experience an inherent loss in spectral efficiency caused by the restrictions imposed on the OFDM frame structure required for the generation of a unipolar signal. The current paper presents a modified modulation approach, termed enhanced U-OFDM (eU-OFDM), which compensates the spectral efficiency loss in U-OFDM. At the same time, it still allows for the generation of an inherently unipolar modulation signal that achieves better performance in terms of both electrical power and optical power dissipation compared t state-of-the-art direct current (DC)-biased optical OFDM (DCO-OFDM). To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the current work also presents the first experimental proof-of-concept demonstration of both U-OFDM and eU-OFDM, and clearly demonstrates the significant energy advantages that these two schemes can introduce in an optical wireless communications (OWC) system.

The paper can be downloaded here