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6G Communications Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces Roadmap, Materials, Market 2021-2045

Metamaterials, metasurfaces, terahertz, intelligent reprogrammable surfaces, intelligent reflecting surface, intelligent reflective surface, large intelligent surfaces, HEMT, PIN diode, relay, MIMO, graphene, fine metal patterning, smart cities

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6G Communications will be a dead duck if it cannot deploy smart surfaces everywhere to deliver the tricky far-infrared signals necessary to hugely advance smartphones, entertainment, medicine, Internet of Things, ICT. Yet nothing has been done to appraise the mass production, costing, volume technologies and timelines of those surfaces or to forecast the commercial opportunity. The IDTechEx report, "6G Communications Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces Roadmap, Materials, Market 2021-2045" puts that right. Call them RIS.
6G is the sixth generation of wireless mobile technology. It is sometimes called 6G Networks because the ambitions of those researching and funding the subject go far beyond improved radio telephony. Researchers promise the terahertz beams will charge your phone, work unpowered devices, position to better that one centimeter and sense everything everywhere but what is affordable and practicable and when? Research with clunky parts like copper sheet, printed circuit boards and conventional components give no visibility on this. It sits awkwardly with Samsung and others promising mass deployment in 2030.
There is some skepticism because 2021 sees 5G engaging only slowly. IDTechEx wrote the definitive reports on 5G materials and commercialisation. With 6G, the implications for computing, networks and even global energy consumption become considerable when a radically different approach to hardware is forced upon us. The power, performance, size and space constraints make it essential that the new reconfigurable metasurfaces succeed in what will be their first mass application. Get it right and a trillion-dollar new industry awaits. Printed and flexible electronics is key, giving that industry and the advanced materials industry a multi-billion dollar opportunity.
At 205 information-packed pages, this is a drill-down report from the IDTechEx overview report, "6G Communications Markets, Devices, Materials 2021-2041". The IDTechEx report, "6G Communications Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces Roadmap, Materials, Market 2021-2045" is prepared by our PhD-level, multilingual researchers across the world. Its focus is commercialisation and benefits to society presented in a manner easily understood by those not steeped in the subject. No equations but a host of research papers appraised and referenced for those wishing to go deeper. Many new infograms, graphs and photographs derive from global interviews, conferences and analysis over many years but particularly 2021. IDTechEx has led market and science analysis of the enabling technologies for 21 years, including consultancy for the big names.
The report answers questions such as:
  • What frequencies will be chosen as 6G launches then as it improves?
  • Implications for RIS design evolution?
  • What RIS design can achieve what benefits when?
  • What performance is realistic for the early years of affordable deployment?
  • What materials should be favoured and why?
  • What is the 6G RIS roadmap 2021-2045?
  • What will be the cost breakdown for different RIS surfaces optimised for mass production?
  • Globally, what area will be deployed yearly and cumulative by year to 2041?
  • What price $/square meter and total market value by year to 2041?
  • What companies will make them and who will be deployment partners into ceilings, facades, billboards etc.?
  • What printed and thin film technologies are appropriate and which organisations are improving each and by how much?
  • What are the SOFT appraisals on each aspect?
  • How do smart cities fit in with this?
The 35 page Executive Summary and Conclusions is sufficient for those in a hurry seeking the promises, the basics, critical analysis, comparison tables, roadmap, RIS and backup forecasts. The 24 page Introduction is a light-hearted presentation in everyday language and images but getting over a great deal of vital information. It is an antidote to the appalling mathematical obscurity of most that has been published so far, with even RIS described by an increasing, large number of long words for the same thing. The rest of the report has to go into more detail but this is eased by a comprehensive glossary at the start of the report.
The 21 page Chapter 3 is on metamaterials and their 2D version called metasurfaces that are so essential for 6G, particularly the semi-passive versions. How do they work? What are the pros and cons of ever more advanced versions for possible use in 6G? Who has achieved what and where? What are the typical patterns and drivers?
The 45 page Chapter 4 Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces takes you into the complete devices - multilayer thin films on trucks, indoor walls, roofing and more. We summarise recent appraisals of progress and possibilities from a host of referenced researchers, adding our own expert opinions and predictions. We add our new ideas such as providing the power by a photovoltaics overlayer, how to print the active devices, what a smart city looks like with 6G, identifying companies involved that can incorporate RIS in their hardware. Learn why other technologies can redirect and enhance emissions but not meet the 6G requirements in shape and cost. Nowhere near. The RIS developers and programs are identified. Discussion is in the context of relevant progress with printed and thin film electronics, 5G and terahertz devices generally.
Chapter 5 uses 45 pages for a deep dive into the candidate technologies for the vital fine metal patterning for both metasurfaces, thin film devices and interconnects involved. It starts will illustrations of many metasurfaces and their patterning needs. Many companies and their capabilities are profiled. IDTechEx has drill down reports on these technologies and companies for those seeking even more.
The 23 page Chapter 6 covers dielectrics and polymers needed. For example some metasurfaces employ liquid crystal polymers and there are lessons from low loss materials for 5G, the subject of another IDTechEx report.
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Table of Contents
1.Executive Summary and Conclusions
1.1.Purpose of this report
1.2.What is 6G?
1.3.Communication evolution to 6G
1.4.Desired 6G capabilities: frequency, data rate, latency, ubiquity
1.5.Systems to keep up with rapidly advancing capabilities requested 1980-2045
1.6.Trends in 5G networks continuing into 6G
1.7.6G system elements from space to user
1.8.Choices for 6G RIS metasurface functionality
1.9.5G base station technology inadequate for needs in 2030. THz and RIS extension of reach essential
1.10.Trend to beam forming and steering
1.11.Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface RIS design and materials
1.12.6G RIS SOFT report
1.13.Primary conclusions
1.14.6G and RIS roadmap 2021-2041
1.15.Market forecasts RIS number, area, price, market value 2030-2041
1.15.2.Potentially lowest unit cost for RIS basic structure Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface potential as base stations smartphones 2030-2041
1.15.5.Low power WAN connections 2020-2030
1.15.6.Low power WAN connections by application 2020-2030
1.16.Patent analysis
2.1.6G in everyday language
2.2.The Terahertz Gap: Better devices essential
2.3.6G origins and progress
2.4.Evolution 4G to 6G
2.5.Appalling attenuation means short range on land
2.6.Competition landscape for key 5G infrastructure vendors also tackling 6G
2.7.A closer look at issues
2.8.Promising Superman by using a mouse
2.9.It will be possible with RIS
2.10.How RIS will overcome 5G limitations
2.11.RIS applications in 6G
2.12.RIS materials toolkit
2.13.The big picture of 6G
2.13.1.Five enablers
2.13.2.AI- and ML-based approaches for the 6G localization and sensing solutions
2.13.3.Escalating economic and technology impact of 6G
2.13.4.Some challenges that are opportunities
2.14.6G including RIS will leverage other terahertz electronics
2.15.RIS and the network and ICT energy challenge
3.Metamaterials and metasurfaces
3.2.Metasurfaces are now the focus
3.3.Passive not tunable or active tunable?
3.4.Design of passive and active RIS metasurface architectures
3.5.Basics: 6G metasurface design and mass production
3.6.6G re-programmable metamaterials
3.7.Electrically tunable metasurfaces
3.8.Photonic metasurfaces
3.9.Graphene option
3.10.3-5 compounds and SiGe options
3.11.Multilayer metasurfaces for RIS
3.12.ENZ metamaterials and metasurfaces
3.13.Metasurfaces for 6G base stations
3.14.Roundup including other views
4.6G Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces RIS
4.1.Terminology nightmare
4.3.Applications envisaged
4.4.Choices for 6G RIS metasurface functionality
4.5.Semi-passive vs active functionality
4.6.Semi-passive RIS uniqueness
4.7.Sensing and imaging at higher frequencies and more locations
4.8.What is made possible
4.9.Outdoor RIS for 6G
4.9.1.Needs, WIET and other benefits
4.9.2.Locations in smart cities
4.9.3.Smart city companies as RIS integration partners
4.9.4.RIS for fine mapping
4.9.5.RIS technology enhancing base stations
4.9.6.Fully active RIS as a pseudo base station
4.10.Indoor RIS: Terminology and functionality
4.11.RIS challenges ahead and design choices
4.11.2.Achieving the functions
4.11.3.Tunability design issues
4.11.4.RIS configuration challenges
4.12.Relevant antenna design
4.12.2.Passive Electronically Steered Array PESA
4.12.3.New THz antennas for 6G
4.12.4.Plasmonic antenna improvements
4.12.5.InSb silica hyperbolic metamaterial antenna
4.12.6.Graphene THz antennas and plasmonics
4.13.Terahertz emitters and detectors
4.14.Terahertz transistors and diodes
4.14.2.InP and GaAs transistors
4.14.3.Schottky diode SiC graphene
4.15.Terahertz transceivers
5.Ultra fine line metal patterning needed
5.1.Conductive patterning needs for 6G RIS
5.2.Metasurface patterning needs
5.3.Terahertz metamaterials patterning
5.4.Photopatterning/ photolithography for fine metal line patterning
5.4.1.Photolithography followed by etching
5.4.2.Fujifilm's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
5.4.3.Toppan Printing's copper metal mesh
5.4.4.Toppan Printing's copper metal mesh
5.4.5.Dai Nippon Printing's fine metal patterning
5.4.6.Tanaka Metal's metal mesh technology
5.4.7.Metamaterial Technologies novel photo patterning technique
5.4.8.Other Players: Panasonic, Foxconn
5.4.9.SWOT analysis on photo patterned fine metal line patterning
5.5.Embossing/imprinting to create ultra fine metal lines
5.5.1.Nanoimprinting 5um metal line width
5.5.2.O-Film's ultra fine line embossing technology
5.5.3.Some embossing approaches have not been commercially successful
5.5.4.SWOT analysis on embossed fine metal patterning
5.6.Directly printed fine metal lines
5.6.1.Gravure offset printed fine metal line (<5um)
5.6.2.Gravure offset printed fine metal lines: players
5.6.3.Print and plate for ultra fine metal lines
5.6.4.Asahi Kasei: Ultrafine metal line roll to roll printing process
5.7.Screen printing and Inkjet printing
5.7.1.Toray photocurable screen printed paste for fine line metal patterning
5.7.2.LCY and Screen Holding photoresist printing
5.7.3.XTPL sub 10um printed metal lines
5.8.Electrohydrodynamic printing enables high resolution: Enjet, Scrona, SIJ
5.9.Readiness level: Digital/high resolution printing
5.10.Direct metal plating on flexible glass
6.Dielectrics and polymers needed
6.1.Relevant challenges or high frequency 5G and for 6G
6.2.Opportunities for low loss materials in mmWave 5G and THz 6G
6.3.PTFE and LTCC
6.4.Liquid crystal polymers for 6G RIS
6.5.Fluoropolymers for THz frequencies
6.6.Dielectric constant: benchmarking different substrate technologies
6.7.Loss tangent: benchmarking different substrate technologies
6.8.Moisture uptake: benchmarking different substrate technologies
6.9.Radio frequency front end module (RF FEM)
6.10.Lessons from filter technologies at mmWave 5G
6.11.Optical devices key player and their market share

Report Statistics

Slides 211
Forecasts to 2041
ISBN 9781913899370

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