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Active millimeter-wave imaging system for material analysis and object detection

: Zech, C.; Hülsmann, A.; Kallfass, I.; Tessmann, A.; Zink, M.; Schlechtweg, M.; Leuther, A.; Ambacher, O.


Krapels, K.A. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Millimetre Wave and Terahertz Sensors and Technology IV : Prague
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2011 (Proceedings of SPIE 8188)
ISBN: 978-0-8194-8816-9
Paper 81880D
Conference "Millimetre Wave and Terahertz Sensors and Technology" <4, 2011, Prague>
Fraunhofer IAF ()

The use of millimeter-waves for imaging purposes is becoming increasingly important, as millimeter-waves can penetrate most clothing and packaging materials, so that the detector does not require physical contact with the object. This will offer a view to the hidden content of e.g. packets or bags without the need to open them, whereby packaging and content will not be damaged. Nowadays X-ray is used, but as the millimeter-wave quantum energy is far below the ionization energy, it is less harmful for the human health. In this paper we report an active millimeter-wave imaging tomograph for material analysis and concealed object detection purposes. The system is build using in-house W-band components. The object is illuminated with low-power millimeter-waves in the frequency range between 89 and 96GHz; mirrors are used to guide and focus the beam. The object is moved through the focus point to scan the object pixel by pixel. Depending on the actual material some parts of the waves are reflected, the other parts penetrate the object. A single-antenna transmit and receive module is used for illumination and measurement of the material-specific reflected power. A second receiver module is used to measure the transmitted wave. All information is processed for amplitude and phase images by a computer algorithm. The system can be used for security, such as detecting concealed weapons, explosives or contrabands at airports and other safety areas, but also quality assurance applications, e.g. during production to detect defects. Some imaging results will be presented in this paper.