Modeling and Analysis of MIMO Multipath Channels with Aerial Intelligent Reflecting Surface

Zhangfeng Ma, Bo Ai, Ruisi He, Hang Mi, Mi Yang, Ning Wang, Zhangdui Zhong, Wei Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, intelligent reflecting surface (IRS) has become a research focus for its capability of controlling the radio propagation environments. Compared to the conventional terrestrial IRS, aerial IRS (AIRS) exploiting unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/high-altitude platform (HAP) can provide better deployment flexibility. To this end, a three-dimensional (3D) one-cylinder model is first developed for AIRS-assisted multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) narrowband channels. In order to change the wireless channel with AIRS and create a favorable propagation environment, we propose a novel method of designing the phase-shifts for the IRS elements. Based on the model, channel impulse response (CIR), space-time correlation function, and channel capacity are derived and thoroughly investigated. A key observation in this paper is that multipath and Doppler effects in radio propagation environments can be effectively mitigated via adjusting the phase-shifts of IRS. More specifically, for the special propagation environments in the absence of any scatterers, it is found that the effects of multipath fading can be completely eliminated by IRSs. While for the general propagation environments with multiple scatterers, a small number of IRS elements can also significantly reduce the Doppler spread and the deep fades of the channels. Based on the numerical investigation of channel correlations, it is shown that channel non-stationarity is not introduced into the time domain when the phase shift of IRS is linear related to the time. Moreover, the channel capacity can also be improved by the proposed methods. Finally, the model with non-ideal IRSs is considered and it is found that using non-ideal IRSs results in poor performances compared with using ideal IRSs. These conclusions will provide a fundamental support for developing intelligent and controllable propagation environments of the future sixth-generation (6G) wireless networks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9852185
JournalI E E E Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)3027-3040
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • Atmospheric modeling
  • Channel models
  • Doppler effect
  • MIMO communication
  • Scattering
  • Solid modeling
  • Three-dimensional displays
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
  • channel modeling
  • intelligent reflecting surface (IRS)
  • multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
  • propagation characteristics


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