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ECE MS Thesis Defense: Hooman Barati Sedeh
August 4, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
MS Thesis Defense: Space-Time Graphene Metasurfaces
Hooman Barati Sedeh
Location: Zoom Link
Abstract: The unprecedented growth of the data exchanged between wireless devices and the rapid emergence of high-quality wireless services have raised the demand for communication bandwidth and data transmission rates. This has motivated the migration of wireless networks toward the utilization of carrier waves with higher frequencies beyond the millimeter-wave band. Terahertz (THz) band is envisioned as one of the enabling technologies for future generations of wireless communication mobile networks (such as 6G) to address the needs of high-speed and bandwidth-intensive applications. THz communications are expected to provide broadband services to several wireless devices in the internet of things applications. The recent migration from internet-of-things to the internet of nano-things imposes certain constraints in terms of size, weight, and power (SWaP) on the THz antennas responsible for communications, calling for the development of smart antennas with adaptive response capable of establishing multiple active data links through multi-beam scanning in a multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) network while meeting the demands on the capacity and SWaP. Moreover, provisioning a reliable communication channel that ensures the security of its users’ information remains vitally essential for the next generation of communication networks.
Metasurfaces, consisting of subwavelength elements, are poised to enable improved free-space optical communications with low SWaP thanks to their small form factor and capability to provide unprecedented control over the wavefront of electromagnetic waves at the subwavelength scale. The recent investigations of active metasurfaces have aimed toward overcoming the fixed response of conventional metasurfaces and developing smart antenna systems with adaptive beamforming capabilities that can point the beam toward the desired users in real-time through pixelated control over the phase of the scattered wave. Moreover, the adaptive communication by such quasi-static tunable metasurfaces can be secured by encrypting the transmitted data via holography to impose restrictions on the data access from an adversary. Despite the fruitful progress in this area, quasi-static active metasurface face several challenges to meet the high demands on the capacity of communication due to their reliance on resonant phase shift accumulations which limit the operation bandwidth and hinders the scalability in terms of the number of channels in the account of non-trivial coupling effects between resonant unit cells. Furthermore, these metasurfaces cannot be used for covert communication as they do not allow for engineering the spectral content of scattered light.
This thesis explores the roles of space and time in active metasurfaces for establishing adaptive and secure multichannel communication at low-THz frequency regime. As the primary goal of this work is twofold, we will tackle each problem separately. At first, we propose a technique for adaptive multichannel communication through simultaneous and independent multifrequency multibeam scanning via a single time-modulated metasurface consisting of graphene micro-patch antennas whose Fermi energy levels are modulated by radio-frequency biasing signals. To this aim, we divide the metasurface aperture into interleaved orthogonally modulated sub-array antennas with distinct modulation frequencies, rendering a shared aperture in space-time. The higher-order frequency harmonics generated by the sub-arrays in such a space-time shared-aperture metasurface are mutually orthogonal in the sense that they do not yield an observable interference pattern and can be separated by spectral filtering. A distinct constant progressive modulation phase delay is then adopted in each sub-array to independently scan its corresponding higher-order frequency harmonics via dispersionless modulation-induced phase gradient with minimal sidelobe level and full angle-of-view over a wide bandwidth. In the second part of this work, we will propose another technique for establishing active secure communication links over single and multiple orthogonal frequency channels via a metasurface that consists of graphene micro-ribbons. To this aim, the Fermi energy level of each graphene micro-ribbons is modulated via pseudo-random radio-frequency biasing signals whose DC offsets are adjusted to tilt the reflected beam toward the predefined direction by imposing a spatial phase gradient profile across the surface, while their waveforms are engineered to expand the incident wave spectrum into a noise-like spectrum with a near-zero power spectral density via random modulation of the reflection phase of each element with respect to its offset phase. This permits for addressing a legitimate mobile user in real-time who can retrieve the incident signal via synchronous demodulation with the pseudo-random key of the metasurface while camouflaging the signal from the adversary by lowering the probability of detection and spectral encryption. The approach is then extended to enable multi-channel secure communication by dividing the metasurface into interleaved sub-arrays modulated with orthogonal pseudo-random keys, which provides simultaneous and independent control over multiple beams with non-overlapping spread spectra which can be retrieved by independent legitimate users while rejecting unwarranted access by eavesdroppers as well as other users.