A groundbreaking advancement in wireless communication has emerged from the City University of Hong Kong, where a team of researchers, led by Professor Chan Chi-hou, has developed a groundbreaking antenna named the ‘microwave universal metasurface antenna.’ This innovative technology has the unprecedented ability to control all five crucial aspects of electromagnetic waves simultaneously using computer software.

The ‘microwave universal metasurface antenna’ stands out as a game-changer in the realm of 6G wireless communication systems. Professor Chan emphasized the significance of creating a universal component capable of manipulating all fundamental wave properties, dubbing it the “Holy Grail for physicists and engineers.”

This antenna’s capabilities extend far beyond conventional applications, proving valuable in scenarios where sensing, information gathering, communication, and data transmission are paramount. Its unique feature lies in dynamically and precisely manipulating wave properties, including strength, timing, frequency, direction, and vibration, all at the same time—a groundbreaking achievement in the field.

The antenna’s adaptability positions it as an essential component for advanced information systems envisioned for the future. Notably, it excels in handling substantial data volumes while ensuring data security. Additionally, the antenna introduces the possibility of wireless power transfer, enabling device charging without physical connections.

One notable feature is the antenna’s ability to control signal direction, enhancing privacy and security in communication systems where eavesdropping is a concern. This attribute makes it an ideal choice for scenarios where safeguarding conversations from unauthorized interception is crucial.

The applications of the ‘microwave universal metasurface antenna’ extend into various technologies, including augmented reality, holography, integrated sensing and communications for 6G, quantum optics, and quantum information science. Professor Wu Gengbo, the paper’s first author, expressed optimism about the antenna’s potential as a simplified, cost-effective information transmitter with high integration and low power consumption.

While the researchers demonstrated the technology in the microwave band, they envision expanding its concept to terahertz frequencies using specific technologies. This expansion would open the door to applications in augmented reality, holography, integrated sensing and communications for 6G, quantum optics, and quantum information science—a testament to the antenna’s versatility and groundbreaking potential.

By Impact Lab