Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces: Where Metamaterials Meet Tele-Communications

Since the first mobile phones a few decades ago the frequencies used for telecommunications have consistently increased, since higher frequency signals can transmit more information. This is why internet pages typically load faster when you have a 5G signal.
While society's ever-growing demand for wirelessly transmitted data will continue to drive adoption of higher communication frequencies, this will bring technical challenges. Higher frequency signals are more easily blocked, and typically diffract less around streetscape sized obstacles. As such, the introduction of 6G would require a substantially higher density of conventional infrastructure, increasing costs.
Metamaterials offer a solution. A periodic array of conductive patterns on a flat substrate can be used to reflect specific radiation frequencies, enabling telecommunications signals to be re-directed to avoid blackspots. Furthermore, continuously tuning the properties (such as capacitance) of these periodic conductive patterns enables the 2D metamaterial to operate as a phase array, directing the signal to where it is needed and reducing the need for amplification. Metamaterials used for these purposes are often termed 'reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS)'.
In this webinar Dr Matthew Dyson, a Principal Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, will discuss the following topics:
  • What is a reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS), and why are they likely to be needed for high frequency telecommunications.
  • The different types of RIS (passive, semi-passive, active) and where they are likely to be deployed.
  • Manufacturing processes and materials required for RIS production.
The webinar content is taken from two IDTechEx reports: "6G Market 2023-2043: Technology, Trends, Forecasts, Players" and "Metamaterials Markets 2023-2043: Optical and Radio-Frequency". Drawing on multiple interviews and interactions with key players within both the communications and emerging metamaterial industry, these reports analyse market and technology trends within both sectors. Granular forecasts outlining the adoption of constituent technologies (such as different RIS types) are also included.


Dr Matthew Dyson
Dr Matthew Dyson
Principal Technology Analyst