Millimeter-wave Interferometric Sensing

Report No. ARL-TR-5668
Authors: Charles R. Dietlein, Amir Zaghloul, and David A. Wikner
Date/Pages: September 2011; 20 pages
Abstract: This report explores the feasibility of short-range ground-based millimeter-wave sensing systems based on interferometric imaging techniques. In comparison with infrared and visible wavelength focal-plane arrays (FPA), millimeter-wave FPAs always have fewer detectors and image pixels, poorer spatial resolution, lower signal-to-noise ratio, and an increase of illumination-based artifacts such as glint in the images. Calibration and scanning schemes induce additional complications. These difficulties are ultimately a consequence of the millimeter-wave's much longer wavelengths compared to visible or infrared frequencies. This research effort addresses a specific limitation: low-detector-count FPAs. An alternative approach to traditional, high-detector-count, staring FPAs is interferometric (coherence) imaging, wherein an array with a low number of coherent detectors is exploited to reconstruct the field distribution in the object plane. This interferometric approach is used extensively by radio astronomers at lower frequencies. In this report, we study this technique's validity at 220 GHz for imaging terrestrial scenes.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2011