A 60GHz metamaterial beamforming antenna for 6G

A 60GHz metamaterial beamforming antenna for 6G

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in Scotland have developed a beamforming  antenna with metamaterials that can be used for high performance next generation 6G networks.

A team led by researchers from the University of Glasgow combined the metamaterial design with the signal processing required for beamforming at 60GHz. The digitally coded dynamic metasurface antenna, or DMA, has 16 elements controlled through high-speed field-programmable gate array (FPGA).

This uses an electric inductive-capacitive (CELC) metamaterial element (unlike conventional rectangular CELC) that is designed to resonate around 60.5 GHz and the DMA is the first in the world designed and demonstrated at the operating frequency of 60 GHz for millimetre-wave (mmWave) beamforming links.

The capabilities of the DMA design could find use in patient monitoring and care, where it could help directly monitor patients’ vital signs and keep track of their movements. 

It could also enable improved integrated sensing and communications devices for use in high-resolution radar and to help autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars and drones safely find their way around on the roads and in the air. 

The improved speed of data transfer could even help create holographic imaging, allowing convincing 3D models of people and objects to be projected anywhere in the world in real time.

The matchbook-sized prototype uses high-speed interconnects with simultaneous parallel control of individual metamaterial elements through FPGA programming. The DMA can shape its communications beams and create multiple beams at once, switching in 5ns to ensure network coverage remains stable.  

A low-loss V-band planar substrate-integrated waveguide (SIW) structure is designed excites the CELC meta-element by an in-plane magnetic field. Two PIN diodes are loaded in the small capacitive gap between the CELC meta-element and the SIW structure. The switching state of the PIN diodes readily renders the meta-element either radiating or non-radiating, with a difference between radiating and non-radiating states of over 11 dB.

The one-dimensional DMA was designed by embedding 16 such meta-elements into the upper conducting wall of the edge-fed SIW structure for electronic steering with high gain, high radiation efficiency, and low side lobe levels. The radiation state of each CELC meta-element is dynamically controlled through a high-speed field programmable gate array (FPGA).

The DC biasing network for PIN diodes at such high frequency is meticulously designed and integrated using 4-layer standard printed circuit board (PCB) technology and the parallelized biasing network of PIN diodes through a high-speed FPGA enables agile dynamic control over the radiation pattern of the entire digitally coded metasurface aperture.

“This meticulously designed prototype is a very exciting development in the field of next-generation adaptive antennas, which leaps beyond previous cutting-edge developments in reconfigurable programmable antennas,” said Professor Qammer Abbasi, co-director of the University of Glasgow’s Communications, Sensing and Imaging Hub.

“In recent years, DMAs have been demonstrated by other researchers around the world in microwave bands, but our prototype pushes the technology much further, into the higher mmWave band of 60 GHz. That makes it a potentially very valuable  stepping stone towards new use cases of 6G technology and could pave the way for even higher-frequency operation in the terahertz range.

Dr Masood Ur Rehman, from the University of Glasgow, James Watt School of Engineering, led the antenna development.

“Our high-frequency intelligent and highly adaptive antenna design could be one of the technological foundation stones of the next generation of mmWave reconfigurable antennas,” he said.

“The programmable beam control and beam-shaping of the DMA could help in fine-grained mmWave holographic imaging as well as next-generation near-field communication, beam focusing, and wireless power transfer. We’ll work toward the extension of this design in the near future to offer more flexible and versatile antenna performance.”

60 GHz Programmable Dynamic Metasurface Antenna (DMA) for Next-Generation Communication, Sensing, and Imaging Applications: From Concept to Prototype ’



If you enjoyed this article, you will like the following ones: don't miss them by subscribing to :    eeNews on Google News


Linked Articles