Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface Aided Communications for 6G and Beyond

Submission Deadline:  31 May 2021

IEEE Access invites manuscript submissions in the area of Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface Aided Communications for 6G and Beyond.   

Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface (RIS) aided wireless communications is a hot research topic in academic and industry communities since it can enhance both the spectrum and energy efficiency of wireless systems by artificially reconfiguring the wireless propagation environment. RIS can configure tiny antenna elements or scatterers, which can be judiciously tuned to enhance signal power at desired users, such as primary users in cognitive radio networks, or suppress signal power at undesired users, such as eavesdroppers in physical layer security networks. The RIS also finds promising applications in dense urban areas or indoor scenarios, where electromagnetic waves are prone to be blocked by obstacles such as buildings and walls. There are numerous advantages associated with RIS. For instance, since RIS needs no analog-to-digital converters or radio frequency chains, it saves energy consumption to improve its sustainability, and reduces system cost. RIS can be fabricated in small size and light weight, which can be easily deployed on a building’s facade, walls, ceilings, street lamps, etc. Furthermore, since RIS is a complementary device, it can be readily integrated into current wireless networks (both cellular network and WIFI) without many standardization modifications. Due to these appealing advantages, RIS-aided wireless communications is envisioned to be a revolutionary technique, and one of the key technologies for the sixth-generation (6G) wireless networks.

To reap the full potential offered by RIS, a number of emerging challenges for the transceiver design of RIS-aided wireless communications needs to be tackled. The transceiver beamforming design requires advanced low complexity signal processing algorithms, the incorporation of RIS in wireless communications will consume more pilot resources for the RIS-related channel estimation, and the time slots left for data transmission will be reduced. It is imperative to justify the benefits of introducing RIS when taking into account additional pilot overhead. Furthermore, most of the existing contributions on transceiver design are based on perfect channel state information (CSI), which is challenging to achieve in RIS-aided communications. Hence, robust transmission design needs to be investigated. Finally, in practice, the RIS elements are designed with discrete shifts, which further pose new challenges for evaluating its performance.

This Special Section aims to summarize recent advancements in RIS-aided wireless communications and spur more efforts in this area to make it a reality. The scope of this Special Section covers a wide range of disciplines such as wireless communications, metamaterials, signal processing, and artificial intelligence. In this Special Section, we invite high-quality, original, technical and survey articles, which have not been published previously on RIS-related techniques and their applications in wireless communications.

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Integration of RIS in emerging wireless applications (e.g., RIS-aided wireless power transfer, RIS-aided mobile edge computing, RIS-aided physical layer security, IRS-aided UAV communications, etc)
  • Pilot overhead reduction schemes for channel estimation in RIS-aided wireless communications (e.g. compressed-sensing method by exploiting the sparsity of the channels)
  • Robust transceiver design based on imperfect channel state information or/and imperfect phase shift models
  • Transceiver design based on statistical channel state information
  • Joint active and beamforming for RIS-aided wireless communications
  • Information theoretical results of the capacity of RIS
  • The impact and design of using practical hardware, e.g. discrete phase shifts
  • Energy supply of RIS
  • Mobility and handover management for RIS-aided wireless communications
  • Association and coordination among RIS, base stations and users
  • Resource allocation and interference management in RIS-aided wireless communications
  • Fundamental limits, scaling laws analysis, performance analysis, and information-theoretic analysis
  • Channel and propagation models
  • Control information exchange protocols design
  • Energy efficient system design
  • Machine learning based design
  • RIS-aided mmWave/Terahertz communications
  • Measurement studies and real-world prototypes and test-beds
  • Integration of RIS-enabled networks into the standard

We also highly recommend the submission of multimedia with each article as it significantly increases the visibility and downloads of articles.


Associate Editor:  Cunhua Pan, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Guest Editors:

    1. Ying-Chang Liang, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), China
    2. Marco Di Renzo, Paris-Saclay University, France
    3. Lee Swindlehurst, University of California Irvine, USA
    4. Vincenzo Sciancalepore, NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH, Germany


Relevant IEEE Access Special Sections:

    1. Beyond 5G Communications
    2. Millimeter-Wave Communications: New Research Trends and Challenges
    3. Millimeter-wave and Terahertz Propagation, Channel Modeling and Applications


IEEE Access Editor-in-Chief:  Prof. Derek Abbott, University of Adelaide

Article submission: Contact Associate Editor and submit manuscript to:

 For inquiries regarding this Special Section, please contact: