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Optimally diverse communication channels in disordered environments with tuned randomness

Abstract

Multichannel wireless systems have become a standard solution to address our information society’s ever-increasing demand for information transfer. The capacity that such systems can achieve is ultimately limited by the channel diversity in a given propagation medium, and numerous approaches to reduce channel cross-talk by engineering software or hardware details of the signals and antenna arrays have been proposed. Here we show that optimal channel diversity can be achieved by physically shaping the propagation medium itself. Using a reconfigurable metasurface placed inside a random environment, we tune the disorder and impose perfect orthogonality of wireless channels. We report experiments in the microwave domain in which we impose equal weights of the channel matrix eigenvalues for up to 4 × 4 systems, and almost equal weights in larger systems. We also demonstrate enhanced wireless image transmission in an office room in which we augmented the 3 × 3 system’s number of effectively independent channels from two to the optimum of three.

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Fig. 1: Experimental set-up and procedure.
Fig. 2: Evolution of normalized channel matrix eigenvalues λ during iterative optimization of channel diversity.
Fig. 3: Orthogonality of optimized channel matrices for 30 realizations of disorder.
Fig. 4: Emulated wireless transfer of a full-colour image based on experimentally measured channel matrices in an office room.

Data availability

The raw data used in this work are available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1967417.

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Acknowledgements

P.d.H. thanks A. Aubry and U. Kuhl for fruitful discussions. P.d.H. acknowledges funding from the French “Ministère de la Défense, Direction Générale de l’Armement”.

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Contributions

G.L. initiated the project. P.d.H. conceived and conducted the project, and wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the project.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Philipp del Hougne or Geoffroy Lerosey.

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Competing interests

P.d.H. declares no competing interests. G.L. and M.F. have founded and are, respectively, chief scientist and scientific advisor of Greenerwave, a company that seeks to commercialize metasurfaces, inter alia, for applications in wireless communication.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Discussion 1–5 and Supplementary Figures 1–7

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del Hougne, P., Fink, M. & Lerosey, G. Optimally diverse communication channels in disordered environments with tuned randomness. Nat Electron 2, 36–41 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-018-0190-1

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