Programmable Metasurface Applications in 6G: From Reflecting to Transmitting Surfaces

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

Qurrat-Ul-Ain Nadeem smiling for the camera


Dr. Qurrat-Ul-Ain Nadeem
University of British Columbia, Canada


"Programmable Metasurface Applications in 6G: From Reflecting to Transmitting Surfaces"


Programmable metasurface has emerged as a low-cost energy-efficient enabler of several potential next generation wireless communication technologies due to its ability to control the wavefront of the electromagnetic wave by imparting local gradient phase shifts. In this talk, we will cover two key applications of programmable metasurfaces: reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) assisted communication systems and stacked intelligent metasurface (SIM) enabled radio transceivers. RIS is essentially a programmable metasurface deployed in the propagation environment to assist the conventional radio transceivers in controlling the direction in which non-line-of-sight propagation paths are created through reflect beamforming. In this context, we will identify the good use cases of this technology from a communication performance viewpoint, and also present our results on a recently developed RIS prototype to support wide band operation. In the second half of the talk, we will introduce our results on the new SIM-enabled radio transceiver architecture that integrates multiple stacked layers of programmable metasurfaces with an antenna array employing a small number of radio frequency chains, as an efficient implementation of holographic MIMO communications systems. The transmit and receive antennas directly radiate and recover the data streams, with precoding and combining implemented in the native electromagnetic wave domain within the SIM layers at the speed of light, paving the way for an exciting paradigm shift from digital beamforming to fully wave-based beamforming.

About Speaker 

Dr. Qurrat-Ul-Ain Nadeem received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia in 2015 and 2019 respectively. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. Her research focus is on the modeling, design and performance analysis of next-generation wireless communication systems, and her expertise lies in the areas of communication theory, information theory, signal processing, and electromagnetics and antenna theory. Dr. Nadeem was the recipient of the prestigious Paul Baron Young Scholar Award from The Marconi Society in 2018, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in 2021. Dr Nadeem has served as the General Chair of the Workshop on Reconfigurable Intelligent and Holographic surfaces in IEEE PIMRC 2023 and serves as the General Chair of the Workshop on Integrated, Intelligent and Ubiquitous Connectivity for 6G in IEEE ICC 2024.