The Rise of Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces in Integrated Sensing and Communications Paradigms

14 Apr 2022  ·  Ahmet M. Elbir, Kumar Vijay Mishra, M. R. Bhavani Shankar, Symeon Chatzinotas ·

The intelligent reflecting surface (IRS) alters the behavior of wireless media and, consequently, has potential to improve the performance and reliability of wireless systems such as communications and radar remote sensing. Recently, integrated sensing and communications (ISAC) has been widely studied as a means to efficiently utilize spectrum and thereby save cost and power. This article investigates the role of IRS in the future ISAC paradigms. While there is a rich heritage of recent research into IRS-assisted communications, the IRS-assisted radars and ISAC remain relatively unexamined. We discuss the putative advantages of IRS deployment, such as coverage extension, interference suppression, and enhanced parameter estimation, for both communications and radar. We introduce possible IRS-assisted ISAC scenarios with common and dedicated surfaces. The article provides an overview of related signal processing techniques and the design challenges, such as wireless channel acquisition, waveform design, and security.

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