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Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces and Metamaterials The Potential of Wave Propagation Control for 6G Wireless Communications

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: The future 6G of wireless communication networks will have to meet multiplerequirements in increasingly demanding levels, either individually or incombinations in small groups. This trend has spurred recent research activitieson transceiver hardware architectures and novel wireless connectivity concepts.Among the emerging wireless hardware architectures belong the ReconfigurableIntelligent Surfaces (RISs), which are artificial planar structures withintegrated electronic circuits that can be programmed to manipulate an incomingElectroMagnetic (EM) field in a wide variety of functionalities. IncorporatingRISs in wireless networks has been recently advocated as a revolutionary meansto transform any naturally passive wireless communication environment to anactive one. This can be accomplished by deploying cost-effective and easy tocoat RISs to the environment s objects (e.g., building facades and indoorwalls ceilings), thus, offering increased environmental intelligence for thescope of diverse wireless networking objectives. In this paper, we firstprovide a brief history on wave propagation control for optics and acoustics,and overview two representative indoor wireless trials at 2.47GHz for spatialEM modulation with a passive discrete RIS. The first trial dating back to 2014showcases the feasibility of highly accurate spatiotemporal focusing andnulling, while the second very recent one demonstrates that passive RISs canenrich multipath scattering, thus, enabling throughput boosted communicationlinks. Motivated by the late research excitement on the RIS potential forintelligent EM wave propagation modulation, we describe the status on RIShardware architectures and present key open challenges and future researchdirections for RIS design and RIS-empowered 6G wireless communications.

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