Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) Multiplexing: An Enabler of a New Era of Wireless Communications

Doohwan LEE
Hirofumi SASAKI

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E100-B    No.7    pp.1044-1063
Publication Date: 2017/07/01
Publicized: 2017/01/12
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.2016SCI0001
Type of Manuscript: Special Section INVITED PAPER (Special Section on Smart Radio and Its Applications in Conjunction with Main Topics of SmartCom)
Category: Transmission Systems and Transmission Equipment for Communications
orbital angular momentum multiplexing,  uniform circular array,  Gaussian beam,  Bessel beam,  lens antenna,  

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This paper explores the potential of orbital angular momentum (OAM) multiplexing as a means to enable high-speed wireless transmission. OAM is a physical property of electro-magnetic waves that are characterized by a helical phase front in the propagation direction. Since the characteristic can be used to create multiple orthogonal channels, wireless transmission using OAM can enhance the wireless transmission rate. Comparisons with other wireless transmission technologies clarify that OAM multiplexing is particularly promising for point-to-point wireless transmission. We also clarify three major issues in OAM multiplexing: beam divergence, mode-dependent performance degradation, and reception (Rx) signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) reduction. To mitigate mode-dependent performance degradation we first present a simple but practical Rx antenna design method. Exploiting the fact that there are specific location sets with phase differences of 90 or 180 degrees, the method allows each OAM mode to be received at its high SNR region. We also introduce two methods to address the Rx SNR reduction issue by exploiting the property of a Gaussian beam generated by multiple uniform circular arrays and by using a dielectric lens antenna. We confirm the feasibility of OAM multiplexing in a proof of concept experiment at 5.2 GHz. The effectiveness of the proposed Rx antenna design method is validated by computer simulations that use experimentally measured values. The two new Rx SNR enhancement methods are validated by computer simulations using wireless transmission at 60 GHz.