PULSE project vision

The widespread proliferation of wireless systems and the emergence of exciting new wireless technologies (such as 5G and beyond-5G communication systems) are rapidly expanding their application fields (Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, Industry 4.0, Smart Environments and Cities, Factories of the Future, e-Health, etc.), offering novel economic opportunities and bringing benefits to the society. 

In this framework, electromagnetic (EM) reconfigurability represents a key enabling technology, as it allows changing in real time the functionalities and the signature of a device, allowing to use it for different purposes and to react promptly against external attacks or to be adapted to different environmental constraints or conditions.

PULSE pursues the ambitious goal of defining a new technological horizon for implementing reconfigurable EM devices by unifying the research domains of metasurfaces (MTS) with the plasma physics. The fundamental idea is to develop plasma discharge tunable metallic and dielectric metadevices showing unprecedented tunability rate at high frequency ranges (up to sub-THz). Plasma-based metadevices represent a radically new technological platform, with an incredible potential in terms of impact to our society and specifically on the next-generation telecommunication and wireless connectivity markets.


The ultimate goal of PULSE is to prove the technological feasibility of different types of plasma-based reconfigurable metadevices and their effectiveness for next-generation of wireless systems. For this purpose, four science-to-technology breakthroughs are proposed. In addition, the project aims at laying the theoretical and technological foundations of a new family of metadevices, in which the individual elements can change their shape in time.

Science-to-technology breakthroughs


The proposed research program aims at revolutionizing the tuning strategies currently employed for artificial metasurfaces as well as introducing brand-new unprecedented functionalities for the next generation of wireless systems. The radically new strategy we investigate in this research project will allow:

  • to extend the applicative scenarios of reconfigurable metasurfaces to the millimeter-wave frequency range, where effective and fast tuning approaches are currently not available;
  • to define a completely new approach for designing meta-atoms whose properties change both in time and space;
  • to provide the scientific and technological fundamentals of an unprecedented family of metadevices composed by shape-varying meta-atoms;
  • to improve the power efficiency and the reconfigurable capability of discharge technology with the aim to make plasma MTS a plausible candidate for everyday equipment.

The definition of these unprecedented technological lines, ensuring reliability at high frequencies and fast tunability rates, is of paramount importance to address the requirements of the future information society, especially in the area of security and critical safety applications. Therefore, we expect this technology to have a huge social and economic impact, as it will affect many application fields, such as telecommunication and navigation (compact antennas and EM shields, multi-/narrow-/broad-band, reconfigurable, electronically steerable, jamming resistant), Information and Communication Technologies (antennas embedded in internal/external surface of buildings, cars, aircrafts, mobile phones or wearable tissues open new horizons allowing high data rate interlink communication between users), aerospace, aviation and ground transportation, consumer electronics and health, driven by a major innovation in the physical layer of the future RF, microwave, and mm-wave systems.

PULSE – Plasma reconfigUrabLe metaSurface tEchnologies

Project number: 101099313 Starting date: 1 March 2023