Radio Frequency Beamforming Based on a Complex Domain Frontend

Zhengyu Peng, Jialong Chen, Yazhou Dong, Bin Zhang, Shan Qiao, Dexin Ye, Jiangtao Huangfu, Yongzhi Sun, Changzhi Li, Lixin Ran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The state-of-the-art phased array-based digital beamforming systems suffer from disadvantages of high power consumption, high cost, and system complexity due to the massive use of transmitter/receiver (T/R) modules and high-speed digital and digital'analog mixed devices. In this paper, we point out that by proposing a new concept "complex domain" radio frequency (RF) frontend, the relatively slowly changed waveform delay information required to accomplish adaptive beamforming can be separated from wideband RF signals, based on which a self-contained beamforming system can be implemented with a low-speed baseband. By introducing vector RF multipliers in the proposed frontend, the amplitude and phase of RF signals can be simultaneously controlled by the real and imaginary parts of complex numbers, such that beamforming algorithms derived in complex domain can be directly applied without any form of transformation. By doing so, the massive use of conventional T/R modules and high-speed baseband devices can be avoided. Theoretical analysis and experimental demonstration based on commercial components have validated the proposed approach. Our method is able to significantly simplify the realization and decrease the cost of wideband digital beamforming systems, and can be widely used in low cost, power efficient beamforming applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7360951
Pages (from-to)289-298
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Beamforming
  • Nulling antennas
  • Phased array
  • Radio frequency frontend


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