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Breakthrough 6G antenna could lead to high-speed communications and holograms




A new prograMMAble antenna could pave the way for a new generation of 6G devices, smart city-type applications and 3D holograms, scientists claim.

Researchers have created a dynamic metasurface antenna (DMA) that could be controlled by a digitally coded miniature processor that is technically, a high-speed field prograMMAble gate array (FPGA) — a type of reconfigurable circuit integrated onto a chip. 

This prototype, which is about the size of a matchbox, is the world’s first to work with a 6G signal in the 60 GHz millimeter-wave (mmWave) band — reserved for industrial, scientific and medical applications. The findings are detailed in a new study accepted for publication in the near future in the journal IEEE Open Journal of Antennas and Propagation.

The most advanced mobile communications standard today is 5G. This network was first established in 2018 before becoming widespread in 2019. Today, almost every new smartphone can connect to 5G networks in the U.S. and globally. 

6G — which could be a thousand times faster than 5G — is next in line, with the technical specifications still being decided, alongside the infrastructure and components needed to make this network a reality. The final specifications for 6G are expected in 2028, with commercial rollout likely to follow in the early 2030s, according to the trade body GSMA

Related: Breakthrough photonic chip could power 6G devices

“Our high-frequency intelligent and highly adaptive antenna design could be one of the technological foundation stones of the next generation of mmWave reconfigurable antennas,” said lead author of the research, Masood Ur Rehman, senior lecturer in autonomous systems and connectivity at the University of Glasgow, in Scotland, in a statement.