Millimeter-Wave Reconfigurable Electromagnetic Surfaces (MIRES)
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Technological development and application demands push operational frequencies of new wireless systems well into millimeter-wave frequencies. This trend is clearly observed today in commercial automotive radars and imaging systems and emerging 5G communication networks. Due to increasing free-space path loss and reduced power density of solid-state electronic devices, multi-channel antenna approaches, i.e. phased array or MIMO, are the most popular and commonly accepted techniques utilized in emerging millimeter-wave wireless systems. Such hardware with many channels however is highly complex, and typically requires many years of development and significant investment. The situation is worse when even higher frequencies are considered beyond 100 GHz. The wide available bandwidth above 100 GHz is underutilized mainly due to this challenge of generating high output power in complex architectures, such as phased arrays. Frequencies above 100 GHz are interesting for many applications, for instance multi-gbps communications, point-to-point links and radio-over-fiber, or high-resolution imaging radar for security or weather radars. In MiRES, we propose a new approach for wireless systems above 100 GHz with electronic beam-steering capability. Instead of integrating transceivers into each channel, we propose an adaptive electromagnetic surface that will be illuminated by a single bright source. This way problems related to integration of high power amplifiers with tight element spacing will be eliminated and no complex distribution network will be required that becomes a challenge when very high number of antenna channels are considered. The programme will involve the development of high efficiency reflectors with new phase control mechanisms, new characterization approaches with built-in detectors and new array design, calibration and assembly concepts. When successful, MiRES will create potential for new wireless systems beyond 100 GHz with an impact to the scientific community as well as for broader commercial applications.