S&T researchers receive IEEE award for paper on microwave camera design

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology recently received the 2013 Harold A. Wheeler Applications Prize Paper Award for their paper “Portable Real-Time Microwave Camera at 24 GHz.”

The H. A. Wheeler Prize Paper Award of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (APS) is an annual award given to the best applications paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation (TAP) in the preceding calendar year.

The paper describes the design of a patented handheld, high-resolution microwave camera that non-intrusively produces synthetically-focused images of the interior of non-metallic materials and structures in real-time, at speeds of up to 30 images per second.

Researchers say the technology may be customized to address many critical needs, such as detecting defects in composite structures and thermal insulating materials that are found in aerospace and space vehicles, and in the inspection of space habitat structures.

The technology could be used as a quick secondary passenger screening tool in airports, potentially eliminating the need for pat-downs. Homeowners could use it to locate termite damage. And in biomedical applications, it could help medical professionals detect and monitor a variety of skin conditions in humans, including cancer and burns.

The entire system, which may be powered by a battery similar in size to a laptop battery, can run for several hours. This microwave camera system has also been the focus of further development since its initial design.

“It is humbling and indeed a distinct honor for the authors of this paper to have their innovative and hard work recognized by their professional colleagues through this prestigious award,” says Dr. Reza Zoughi, lead researcher and the Schlumberger Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Missouri S&T. “We also appreciate the support provided by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center that initially championed this work.”

The lead designer for this system and lead author of the paper, Dr. Mohammed Tayeb Ahmad Ghasr, earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 2009 and is currently an assistant research professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university. Additional researchers involved in the project are Dr. Mohamed Ahmed AbouKhousa, who earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 2009; Dr. Sergiy Kharkivskiy, now with the University of Western Sydney; and Dr. David Pommerenke, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T.