Millimeter-Wave and Submillimeter-Wave/Terahertz Passive Imaging System Requirements: A Phenomenological Perspective

Report No. ARL-TR-6408
Authors: Steven R. Murrill
Date/Pages: May 2013; 32 pages
Abstract: The phenomenology of imaging in the millimeter-wave (MMW) and submillimeter-wave (SMMW)/terahertz (THz) frequency regimes is investigated and described. The primary factors related to imaging in these frequency regimes are phenomenologically driven and involve trade-offs between spatial (angular) resolution; the impact of atmospheric and obscurant attenuations such as fog, dust, and concealing materials; and system sensitivity requirements. Minimum system sensitivity requirements for adequate imaging in three important military/security scenarios are identified and described in terms of minimum apparent temperature differences between targets and their backgrounds. Mathematical equations for calculating the minimum system sensitivity (noise equivalent power [NEP] per root hertz [Hz]) required to provide image frames with enough signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) to produce good imagery at video frame rates are derived.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2013