Measurement System for Microwave Imaging Towards a Biomedical Application

University dissertation from Västerås : Mälardalen University

Abstract: Microwave imaging techniques have shown excellent capabilities in various fields such as civil engineering, nondestructive testing, industrial applications, and have in recent decades experienced strong growth as a research topic in biomedical diagnostics. Many research groups throughout the world work on prototype systems for producing images of human tissues in different biomedical applications, particularly breast tumor detection. However, the research community faces many challenges and in order to be competitive to other imaging modalities one of the means is to put emphasis on experimental work. Consequently, the use of flexible and accurate measurement systems, together with the design and fabrication of suitable antennas, are essential to the development of efficient microwave imaging systems.The first part of this thesis focuses on measurement systems for microwave imaging in terms of antenna design and development, robot controlled synthetic array geometries, permittivity measurements, and calibration. The aim was to investigate the feasibility of a flexible system for measuring the fields around an inhomogeneous object and to create quantitative images. Hence, such an aim requires solving of a nonlinear inverse scattering problem, which in turn requires accurate measurements for producing good quality experimental data. The presented solution by design of a flexible measurement system is validated by examination of microwave imaging from experimental data with a breast phantom.The second part of the thesis deals with the research challenges of designing high performance antennas to be placed in direct contact with or in close proximity to the imaged object. The need for novel antenna applicators is envisaged in the framework of the Mamacell measurement system, where the antenna applicators have to be designed and constructed to effectively couple the energy into the imaging object. For this purpose the main constraints and design requirements are a narrow lobe of the antenna, very small near-field effects, and small size. Numerical simulations and modeling shows that the proposed ridged waveguide antenna is capable of fulfilling the design requirements and the performance goals, demonstrating the potential for the future microwave imaging system called Mamacell.