The electronically steerable parasitic array radiator antenna for wireless communications : signal processing and emerging techniques
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Smart antenna technology is expected to play an important role in future wireless communication networks in order to use the spectrum efficiently, improve the quality of service, reduce the costs of establishing new wireless paradigms and reduce the energy consumption in wireless networks. Generally, smart antennas exploit multiple widely spaced active elements, which are connected to separate radio frequency (RF) chains. Therefore, they are only applicable to base stations (BSs) and access points, by contrast with modern compact wireless terminals with constraints on size, power and complexity. This dissertation considers an alternative smart antenna system the electronically steerable parasitic array radiator (ESPAR) which uses only a single RF chain, coupled with multiple parasitic elements. The ESPAR antenna is of significant interest because of its flexibility in beamforming by tuning a number of easy-to-implement reactance loads connected to parasitic elements; however, parasitic elements require no expensive RF circuits. This work concentrates on the study of the ESPAR antenna for compact transceivers in order to achieve some emerging techniques in wireless communications. The work begins by presenting the work principle and modeling of the ESPAR antenna and describes the reactance-domain signal processing that is suited to the single active antenna array, which are fundamental factors throughout this thesis. The major contribution in this chapter is the adaptive beamforming method based on the ESPAR antenna. In order to achieve fast convergent beamforming for the ESPAR antenna, a modified minimum variance distortionless response (MVDR) beamfomer is proposed. With reactance-domain signal processing, the ESPAR array obtains a correlation matrix of receive signals as the input to the MVDR optimization problem. To design a set of feasible reactance loads for a desired beampattern, the MVDR optimization problem is reformulated as a convex optimization problem constraining an optimized weight vector close to a feasible solution. Finally, the necessary reactance loads are optimized by iterating the convex problem and a simple projector. In addition, the generic algorithm-based beamforming method has also studied for the ESPAR antenna. Blind interference alignment (BIA) is a promising technique for providing an optimal degree of freedom in a multi-user, multiple-inputsingle-output broadcast channel, without the requirements of channel state information at the transmitters. Its key is antenna mode switching at the receive antenna. The ESPAR antenna is able to provide a practical solution to beampattern switching (one kind of antenna mode switching) for the implementation of BIA. In this chapter, three beamforming methods are proposed for providing the required number of beampatterns that are exploited across one super symbol for creating the channel fluctuation patterns seen by receivers. These manually created channel fluctuation patterns are jointly combined with the designed spacetime precoding in order to align the inter-user interference. Furthermore, the directional beampatterns designed in the ESPAR antenna are demonstrated to improve the performance of BIA by alleviating the noise amplification. The ESPAR antenna is studied as the solution to interference mitigation in small cell networks. Specifically, ESPARs analog beamforming presented in the previous chapter is exploited to suppress inter-cell interference for the system scenario, scheduling only one user to be served by each small BS at a single time. In addition, the ESPAR-based BIA is employed to mitigate both inter-cell and intracell interference for the system scenario, scheduling a small number of users to be simultaneously served by each small BS for a single time. In the cognitive radio (CR) paradigm, the ESPAR antenna is employed for spatial spectrum sensing in order to utilize the new angle dimension in the spectrum space besides the conventional frequency, time and space dimensions. The twostage spatial spectrum sensing method is proposed based on the ESPAR antenna being targeted at identifying white spectrum space, including the new angle dimension. At the first stage, the occupancy of a specific frequency band is detected by conventional spectrum-sensing methods, including energy detector and eigenvalue-based methods implemented with the switched-beam ESPAR antenna. With the presence of primary users, their directions are estimated at the second stage, by high-resolution angle-of-arrival (AoA) estimation algorithms. Specifically, the compressive sensing technology has been studied for AoA detection with the ESPAR antenna, which is demonstrated to provide high-resolution estimation results and even to outperform the reactance-domain multiple signal classification.