Wavefront Engineering: Realizing Efficient Terahertz Band Communications in 6G and Beyond

Arjun Singh, Vitaly Petrov, Hichem Guerboukha, Innem V. A. K. Reddy, Edward W. Knightly, Daniel M. Mittleman, Josep M. Jornet

Terahertz (THz) band communications is envisioned as a key technology for future wireless standards. Substantial progress has been made in this field, with advances in hardware design, channel models, and signal processing. High-rate backhaul links operating at sub-THz frequencies have been experimentally demonstrated. However, there are inherent challenges in making the next great leap for adopting the THz band in widespread communication systems, such as cellular access and wireless local area networks. Primarily, such systems have to be both: (i) wideband, to maintain desired data rate and sensing resolution; and, more importantly, (ii) operate in the massive near field of the high-gain devices required to overcome the propagation losses. In this article, it is first explained why the state-of-the-art techniques from lower frequencies, including millimeter-wave, cannot be simply repurposed to realize THz band communication systems. Then, a vision of wavefront engineering is presented to address these shortfalls. Further, it is illustrated how novel implementations of specific wavefronts, such as Bessel beams and Airy beams, offer attractive advantages in creating THz links over state-of-the-art far-field beamforming and near-field beamfocusing techniques. The paper ends by discussing novel problems and challenges in this new and exciting research area. Index Terms - Terahertz Communications; 6G; Wavefront Engineering; Bessel beams; Near field; Orbital Angular Momentum

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