PhD studentship in Surface Electromagnetics

Wireless communication engineers envision a fully connected world where there is seamless wireless connectivity for Everyone and Everything. Modern wireless communication networks continue to grow at a very rapid rate which has increased the demand for intelligent and efficient communication networks. However, all dynamic and adaptive features of wireless networks are controlled by either the Base-Station (BS) or the User Equipment (UE) while the wireless propagation environment remains unaware of various communication processes going through it. It therefore remains an open topic of research and evaluation among the industrial and academic fraternity to impart some level of intelligence to this otherwise passive radio propagation environment.

Start date
1 October 2021
Standard project duration is 4 years
Application deadline
Funding source
EPSRC ICASE Studentship in partnership with BT
Funding information

The Studentship will pay full tuition fees along with a stipend of £18,609 per annum for 4 years. Stipend will be increased by 3% each year.


There are still some open problems that need to be addressed with regards to RRS deployment in future communication networks e.g., lack of rapid beamforming approaches for mmWave spectrum. Principally, the direction of the reflected beam is determined by assigning a specific phase for each individual unit-cells (scatterers) on the RRS. This phase distribution, in exciting solutions, is calculated by solving optimisation problems which are based on iterative techniques and require long time to converge. Since in mobile communication, the real-time response of the system against the dynamic variations of the channel is of critical importance; therefore, the iterative optimisation techniques are not suitable to be employed to calculate the phase pattern. Moreover, their processing-time can vary case by case, which can further impact the robustness of the whole system. In addition, there are only a few theoretical studies which provide preliminary insights towards understanding propagation channels in the presence of RRS. However, these works cannot capture the complex propagation effects of real-world scenarios. Furthermore, RRS has not been fully evaluated in real wireless networks.

To address these research gaps, the following objectives have been set for this work: (O1): To pioneer the design method for novel reconfigurable mmWave LISs which can be crafted to control the EM characteristics of the reflected beam differently, including pointing angle, beamwidth, polarisation and shape of the beam (e.g., fan/pencil/multiple). (O2): To develop the phase control unit (O3): To Integrate the designed RRS with the phase control unit to test the fully integrated prototype. (O4): To conduct the mmWave channel measurement campaign in the presence of RRS and to develop the mmWave statistical channel model based on the collected data. (O5): To exploit the capability of the developed RRS prototype to control and manipulate the mmWave propagation channel. (O5): To implement the developed RRS in a real-world testbed mmWave wireless network and to evaluate the network performance gains of using such an intelligent entity.

Related links
Reconfigurable Reflecting Surfaces for 5G/6G | University of Surrey

The successful candidate has access to 5G and 6G testbeds at the Institute for Communication Systems at the University of Surrey.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates should have a first-class honours degree or equivalent, or a good MSc Degree, in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering. Candidates must be confident in antenna engineering and EM modelling tools.

This studentship is only available to Uk students. 

IELTS requirements: IELTS Academic 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing, or equivalent.


How to apply

Candidates must apply via the Information and Communication Systems PhD programme page.

Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application. Applications must include a research proposal, up-to-date CV, master’s and bachelor’s degree certificates and transcripts and a copy of your passport. Two references are required before an offer can be made.

Application deadline

Contact details

Mohsen Khalily
10 CII 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686003

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