The paper describes the design, implementation, and characterization of a novel multilevel synchronized pulse position modulation paradigm for high efficiency optical biotelemetry links. The entire optoelectronic architecture has been designed with the aim to improve the efficiency of the data transmission and decrease the overall power consumption that are key factors for the fabrication of implantable and wearable medical devices. By employing specially designed digital architectures, the proposed modulation technique automatically transmits more than one bit per symbol together with the reference clock signal enabling the decoding process of the received coded data. In the present case, the paper demonstrates the capability of the modulation technique to transmit symbols composed by 3 and 4 bits. This has been achieved by developing a prototype of an optical biotelemetry system implemented on an FPGA board that, making use of 500 ps laser pulses, operates under the following two working conditions: (i) 40 MHz clock signal corresponding to a baud rate of 40 Mega symbol per second for symbols composed by 3 bits; (ii) 30 MHz clock signal corresponding to a baud rate of 30 Mega symbol per second for symbols composed by 4 bits. Thus, for both these two configurations the transmission data rate is 120 Mbps and the measured BER was lower than 10^(-10). Finally, the power consumption was found to be 1.95 and 1.8 mW and the resulting energy efficiencies were 16.25 and 15 pJ/bit for transmitted symbols composed by 3 and 4 bits/symbol, respectively.
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