Robust and Secure Wireless Communications via Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces

Xianghao Yu, Dongfang Xu, Ying Sun, Derrick Wing Kwan Ng, Robert Schober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

468 Scopus citations


In this paper, intelligent reflecting surfaces (IRSs) are employed to enhance the physical layer security in a challenging radio environment. In particular, a multi-antenna access point (AP) has to serve multiple single-antenna legitimate users, which do not have line-of-sight communication links, in the presence of multiple multi-antenna potential eavesdroppers whose channel state information (CSI) is not perfectly known. Artificial noise (AN) is transmitted from the AP to deliberately impair the eavesdropping channels for security provisioning. We investigate the joint design of the beamformers and AN covariance matrix at the AP and the phase shifters at the IRSs for maximization of the system sum-rate while limiting the maximum information leakage to the potential eavesdroppers. To this end, we formulate a robust non-convex optimization problem taking into account the impact of the imperfect CSI of the eavesdropping channels. To address the non-convexity of the optimization problem, an efficient algorithm is developed by capitalizing on alternating optimization, a penalty-based approach, successive convex approximation, and semidefinite relaxation. Simulation results show that IRSs can significantly improve the system secrecy performance compared to conventional architectures without IRS. Furthermore, our results unveil that, for physical layer security, uniformly distributing the reflecting elements among multiple IRSs is preferable over deploying them at a single IRS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9133130
Pages (from-to)2637-2652
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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