Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) VLC System and Application to Downhole Monitoring
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2014 IEEE. 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.