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Intelligent Reflecting Surface-assisted Free-space Optical Communications
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  • Vahid Jamali ,
  • Hedieh Ajam ,
  • Marzieh Najafi ,
  • Bernhard Schmauss ,
  • Robert Schober ,
  • H. Vincent Poor
Vahid Jamali
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Hedieh Ajam
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Marzieh Najafi
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Bernhard Schmauss
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Robert Schober
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H. Vincent Poor
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Abstract

Free-space optical (FSO) systems are able to offer the high data-rate, secure, and cost-efficient communication links required for applications such as wireless front- and backhauling for 5G and 6G communication networks. Despite the substantial advancement of FSO systems over the past decades, the requirement of a line-of-sight connection between transmitter and receiver remains a key limiting factor for their deployment. In this paper, we discuss the potential role of intelligent reflecting surfaces (IRSs) as a solution to relax this requirement. We present an overview of existing optical IRS technologies; compare optical IRSs with radio-frequency IRSs and optical relays; and identify various open problems for future research on IRS-assisted FSO communications.
Oct 2021Published in IEEE Communications Magazine volume 59 issue 10 on pages 57-63. 10.1109/MCOM.001.2100406