Advanced and Green Beamforming Metasurface Antennas for 6G

Project: Research

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To combat global climate change, 194 Parties have joined the Paris Agreement and committed to achieving carbon neutrality. Pioneering this initiative, the information and communication technology (ICT) industry pledges to achieve carbon net zero by 2050. This signifies a significant shift in the telecommunications landscape, which must not only prioritize network coverage and user experience but also strive to go “green”.Massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) with beamforming is one of the core technologies in 5G to increase the transmission gain and spectral efficiency. The canonical beamforming networks, such as full-digital architecture, rely on extensive and power-hungry Radio Frequency (RF) chains to upconvert baseband signals and shape beams. Their power consumption, however, becomes one of the primary contributors to the 5G energy drain.Towards the future Beyond 5G and 6G systems, there is a growing consensus that scaling up antenna apertures into ultra-massive MIMO promises to meet the burgeoning data traffic demand. However, the associated costs and power consumption of such beamforming networks, characterized by ultra-massive RF chains and expensive high-frequency RF components, are expected to become prohibitively high. Therefore, industry and academia are actively exploring innovative, high-performance, and green beamforming technologies to achieve the net-zero goal. For example, a special issue on “Advanced Beam-Forming Antennas for Beyond 5G and 6G”, in which the PI is one of the lead guest editors, has been announced by the IEEE Open Journal of Antennas and Propagation in 2023 to collect advanced beamforming technologies from world-leading researchers and experts.This project aims to develop an RF-chain-free beamforming paradigm based on the space-time-coding metasurface antenna (STCMA). This technology offers a cost- and energy-efficiency solution while enabling complex beamforming tasks. We will explore the high-efficiency STCMA design and its potential for direct spatial multiplexing, e.g., simultaneously transmitting different data streams to various users at the same time and frequency. We propose to use the simplest 1-bit ON-OFF switch coding scheme to perform complicated 2-D beam scanning, multi-beam generation, sidelobe cancellation, and multi-user interference elimination by leveraging the unique waveguide-integrated structure of the STCMA.The output of this project will tackle the long-standing energy-intensive challenge in conventional beamforming networks and lead to a new high-performance and green beamforming architecture for next-generation low-carbon wireless communication systems. Its successful implementation promises to benefit Hong Kong and the global academic and industrial communities, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.


Project number9048301
Grant typeECS
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date1/01/25 → …