Developer says typical applications could be leveraging design elements, such as buildings, walls and signboards, that require harmony with the surrounding environment.
Dai Nippon Printing Company (DNP) has announced it has developed a Reflect Array that flexibly reflects the millimetre waves used in 5G mobile communications systems to help expand coverage area.
Compared to general metal reflectors, the company claims the new product is capable of reflecting millimetre waves in a more targeted manner. As a result, there are fewer restrictions on installation, making it possible to improve the communications environment in locations where radio waves have been difficult to reach, such as those in the shadow of buildings.
The 24GHz and above radio waves used in the high-speed large-capacity communications of 5G are higher frequency milliwaves than those used in 4G and maintain a larger information capacity.
At the same time, according to DNP, they are characterised by strong straightness properties and short reach, leading to radio waves being blocked in areas such as in the shadow of buildings making it difficult to ensure communication quality. Also, when adding base stations and relay equipment to resolve this issue, new challenges emerge, such as large costs and the difficulty of securing installation space.
As a power source is no longer needed the new product can also be used in locations where installation space is restricted
DNP said it has made use of proprietary microfabrication technology and found a way to separate the frequency selection reflection layer that selectively reflects predetermined frequency bands while all but target radio waves pass through. Meanwhile, a dielectric reflective control layer decides the direction of incoming and reflected radio waves.
The new product is cheaper than installing base stations and relay equipment, DNP claims, and does not require a power source. It can, therefore, be installed in a variety of locations.
It is possible to flexibly set the frequency band to be reflected, the incidence angle of the radio waves received from the base station, and the reflection angle to deliver the radio waves, along with the spread of the reflection waves.
As a result, radio waves can be effectively directed to locations where it was previously difficult to do so. As a power source is no longer needed the new product can also be used in locations where installation space is restricted.
Use cases suggested by DNP include:
DNP said it will work jointly with various communications-related companies, including communications carriers, to verify the functionality of the new product, aiming for commercialisation from 2023.