Engineering 101

Space-Time Coding Antenna Promotes 6G and Secure Wireless

A research team at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) developed a novel antenna that allows manipulation of a radiated beam’s direction, frequency, and amplitude. They expect it to have an important role in integrating sensing and communications (ISAC) for 6G wireless communications.

The direction, frequency, and amplitude of the electromagnetic waves from this new-generation antenna, called a “sideband-free space-time-coding (STC) metasurface antenna,” can be changed through space-time coding (i.e., software control).

The key is that engineers can change the response of the metasurface by switching the meta-atoms on its surface between radiating and non-radiating states by controlling the electric current. This allows the STC metasurface antenna to create a desired radiation pattern and a highly directed beam.

The novel design uses a waveguide and successfully suppresses undesired harmonics, achieving a high-directivity beam and enabling secure communication.

Engineers can focus the energy from the radiated beam of the STC metasurface antenna to a focal point with fixed or varying focal lengths, which can be used for real-time imaging and treated as a type of radar to scan the environment and feedback data.

They published their findings in the prestigious journal Nature Electronics under the title Sideband-Free Space-Time-Coding Metasurface Antennas.”

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