Virtual antenna array for reduced energy per bit transmission at Sub-5 GHz mobile wireless communication systems

Alibakhshikenari, Mohammad, Virdee, Bal Singh, Mariyanayagam, Dion, Zuazola, Ignacio Garcia, Benetatos, Harry, Althuwayb, Ayman Abdulhadi, Alali, Bader, Xu, Kai-Da and Falcone, Francisco (2023) Virtual antenna array for reduced energy per bit transmission at Sub-5 GHz mobile wireless communication systems. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 71. pp. 439-450. ISSN 2090-2670


This paper presents an innovative technique to synthesize a virtual antenna array (VAA) that consumes less energy than conventional antenna arrays that are used in mobile communications systems. We have shown that for a specific spectral efficiency a wireless system using the proposed virtual antenna array consumes significantly less energy per bit (~ 3 dB) than a wireless system using a conventional multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) array. This means the adoption of the proposed VAA technology in smartphones, iPad, Tablets and even base-stations should significantly reduce the carbon footprint of wireless systems. The proposed VAA is realized by employing a pair of linear antenna arrays that are placed in an orthogonal configuration relative to each other. This orthogonal arrangement ensures the radiation is circularly polarized. The size of the standard radiating elements constituting the VAA were miniaturized using the topology optimization method. The design of the VAA incorporates substrate integrated waveguide (SIW) and metasurface technologies. The function of SIW in the design was twofold, namely, to reduce energy loss in the substrate on which the VAA is implemented, and secondly to mitigate unwanted electromagnetic interactions between the neighboring radiating elements and thereby enhancing isolation which otherwise would degrade the radiation characteristics of the array. Metasurface technology served to effectively increase the effective aperture of the array with no impact on the footprint of the array. The consequence of SIW and metasurface technologies was improvement in the gain and radiation efficiency of the array. The proposed four orthogonal 4-element VAA covers the entire sub-5 GHz frequency range, and it radiates bidirectional in the azimuth plane and omni-directional in the elevation plane. Moreover, it is relatively easy to design and fabricate. The proposed VAA has dimensions of 0.96λ0×0.96λ0×0.0016λ0 at mid-band frequency of 3 GHz. VAA has a measured gain of 25 dBi and radiates with 90% efficiency. The average isolation between the linear arrays constituting the virtual array is better than 27 dB.

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