Conventional MIMO terminal antenna design focuses on adapting known antenna structures to a terminal platform. This ad-hoc approach is not adequate for newer systems (including 5G and beyond) that rely on favourable physical channels to provide high performance. To obtain favourable channels, the MIMO antennas must be designed to interact optimally with their surroundings.
Recently, we successfully applied the Theory of Characteristic Modes (TCM) to design efficient MIMO terminal antennas even for a limited space. However, classical TCM cannot take into account the surroundings(i.e., user and propagation channel). Moreover, the surroundings are non-static by nature.
The primary aim of this project is to enable a paradigm shift by designing a reconfigurable MIMO terminal antenna system that is optimized to its non-static surroundings. First, we will generalize TCM to obtain the radiation properties of a structure with arbitrary materials (Year 1-2). We will then use the new theory to optimize reconfigurable terminal antennas for a non-static user (Year 2-3). Finally, we will extend the design framework to address antenna-channel interaction (Year 4).
The project will offer the first systematic approach to co-design a MIMO antenna system with its non-static surroundings. We expect to increase the system performance by 2 times or more. Apart from mobile communications, the concept is applicable to Internet of Things (IoT), with 18 billion wireless IoT devices forecasted by 2022.