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January 2023 Issue

An Active Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface Utilizing Phase-Reconfigurable Reflection Amplifiers

by J. Rao, Y. Zhang, S. Tang, Z. Li, C. -Y. Chiu and R. Murch

Abstract: Active reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs) have recently been proposed to complement and generalize passive RIS. In this work, the design for an active RIS based on phase-reconfigurable reflection amplifiers is proposed. The proposed active RIS elements design consists of a two-layer patch antenna and a phase-reconfigurable reflection amplifier that is realized by a cascade of a phase shifter and reflection amplifier. Theoretical and numerical analysis are used to quantify key parameters that need to be met in the design of the reflection amplifier and phase shifters. These show that a tradeoff between the reflection amplifier’s gain and the phase shifter’s return and insertion loss is required to be balanced to obtain a stable and effective overall design. In particular, a reflection amplifier with about 13 dB gain and a 2-bit phase shifter with only about 1.9 dB insertion loss and -25 dB return loss are designed. The final RIS element obtains 8.5 dB gain with four reconfigurable phases ranging from 0_ to 360_ with small root mean square (RMS) gain and phase errors. An active RIS can be constructed by concatenating these elements together, and an efficient analytical method to calculate the scattered pattern by the active RIS is also proposed. Experimental results for a 2 _ 2 element active RIS prototype are also provided. These show that the active RIS provides received powers around 8.5 dB higher than that from using an equivalent passive RIS. The results demonstrate the feasibility of achieving gain in active RISs and help demonstrate their promise as a technology for future high-capacity wireless communication systems.