Shuai Zhang - Elektroniske Systemer

Multi-band reconfigurable millimeter-wave phased arrays for 5G mobile handsets and network testing


To begin with: where are you from?

I am from China. I got my Ph.D at KTH in Sweden in 2013 and joined in Aalborg University in 2014. Currently I am working as an Assistant Prof on antennas.

Why did you apply to be a part of the talent programme?

With the support of this program, I can enhance the competences of research, external funding application, leadership and building a team.

What is your research project more specifically about?

In the next generation mobile handsets, mm-wave 5G antennas are mainly used for downloading data with a high speed. Due to the high path loss of mm waves in the air, we also need cellphone antennas operating in the bands of below 3 GHz to control the whole network of 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G systems. However, there are already many antennas within a limited space of a current cellphone. It is challenging to integrate some more 5G antennas into a handset without distorting antenna performance. Furthermore, mm-wave phased arrays for mobile handsets will also suffer from surface wave, mobility and user impacts. In addition, due to the above-mentioned challenge, it is necessary to know the performance of a real 5G mobile terminal phased array in a real 5G network testing.

This project will introduces reconfigurability of array elements to break the physical limitations of a conventional mm-wave mobile handset phased array on bandwidth (multi-bands), beam-steering range, polarization, and sensitivity to user effects. The performance of mm-wave mobile handset phased arrays will be significantly improved with the solutions of this project. Furthermore, by investigating the performance of reconfigurable antennas in real 5G network testing, we can understand the impacts of real 5G mobile terminal antennas on the data rates of 5G networks.

Have you thought about how your project can contribute to bringing knowledge into the world?

Currently, most of the research about mm-waves mobile cellular systems is still focusing on various field trials. The research within the project's area is new, and technical solutions to the above-mentioned challenges are very limited in the previously reported publications. A breakthrough with reconfigurability in the new and important topics of this program is deemed to create an impact within research.

How do you plan to spend the money?

  • Recruit one 3-year PhD student as well as some trainees and scholarship PhD students.
  • Attend formal research leader training courses e.g. mini-MBA course.
  • Materials for experiments.
  • Attend high-quality international conferences, pay for publication fees and other small expenses

What does it mean to you to be accepted into the programme?

To be accepted into this program means a lot to a young researcher like me. With the support of this project, I can start some high-quality research with my idea, build my research team, improve my competence in leadership and apply for more external funding in the topics relevant to this project.

What do you hope to achieve with your research project?

By the end of the project, I hope to solve the antenna challenges in mm-wave mobile terminals with reconfigurability and understand how much real 5G mobile terminal antenna can gian in a real 5G network. Furthermore, I also hope to have a new research group with 2-3 researchers (excluding me), at least one external funding and some high-quality IEEE journal papers.

Who is your role model within the research world?

Too many. I need to learn a lot of things from different experts within the research world.

What do you see as the most interesting research result within your field of research?

The most interesting results are some initial studies on the mmwave field trials, which proves that mmwave is a promising candidate for 5G applications.