Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Terahertz imaging on the cheap

06.05.2014

New theory could reduce number of sensors required for high-resolution imaging systems

Terahertz imaging, which is already familiar from airport security checkpoints, has a number of other promising applications — from explosives detection to collision avoidance in cars. Like sonar or radar, terahertz imaging produces an image by comparing measurements across an array of sensors. Those arrays have to be very dense, since the distance between sensors is proportional to wavelength.

In the latest issue of IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, researchers in MIT's Research Laboratory for Electronics describe a new technique that could reduce the number of sensors required for terahertz or millimeter-wave imaging by a factor of 10, or even 100, making them more practical. The technique could also have implications for the design of new, high-resolution radar and sonar systems.

In a digital camera, the lens focuses the incoming light so that light reflected by a small patch of the visual scene strikes a correspondingly small patch of the sensor array. In lower-frequency imaging systems, by contrast, an incoming wave — whether electromagnetic or, in the case of sonar, acoustic — strikes all of the sensors in the array. The system determines the origin and intensity of the wave by comparing its phase — the alignment of its troughs and crests — when it arrives at each of the sensors.

As long as the distance between sensors is no more than half the wavelength of the incoming wave, that calculation is fairly straightforward, a matter of inverting the sensors' measurements. But if the sensors are spaced farther than half a wavelength apart, the inversion will yield more than one possible solution. Those solutions will be spaced at regular angles around the sensor array, a phenomenon known as "spatial aliasing."

Narrowing the field

In most applications of lower-frequency imaging, however, any given circumference around the detector is usually sparsely populated. That's the phenomenon that the new system exploits.

"Think about a range around you, like five feet," says Gregory Wornell, the Sumitomo Electric Industries Professor in Engineering in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a co-author on the new paper. "There's actually not that much at five feet around you. Or at 10 feet. Different parts of the scene are occupied at those different ranges, but at any given range, it's pretty sparse. Roughly speaking, the theory goes like this: If, say, 10 percent of the scene at a given range is occupied with objects, then you need only 10 percent of the full array to still be able to achieve full resolution."

The trick is to determine which 10 percent of the array to keep. Keeping every tenth sensor won't work: It's the regularity of the distances between sensors that leads to aliasing. Arbitrarily varying the distances between sensors would solve that problem, but it would also make inverting the sensors' measurements — calculating the wave's source and intensity— prohibitively complicated.

Regular irregularity

So Wornell and his co-authors — James Krieger, a former student of Wornell's who is now at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, and Yuval Kochman, a former postdoc who is now an assistant professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem — instead prescribe a detector along which the sensors are distributed in pairs. The regular spacing between pairs of sensors ensures that the scene reconstruction can be calculated efficiently, but the distance from each sensor to the next remains irregular.

The researchers also developed an algorithm that determines the optimal pattern for the sensors' distribution. In essence, the algorithm maximizes the number of different distances between arbitrary pairs of sensors.

With his new colleagues at Lincoln Lab, Krieger has performed experiments at radar frequencies using a one-dimensional array of sensors deployed in a parking lot, which verified the predictions of the theory. Moreover, Wornell's description of the sparsity assumptions of the theory — 10 percent occupation at a given distance means one-tenth the sensors — applies to one-dimensional arrays. Many applications — such as submarines' sonar systems — instead use two-dimensional arrays, and in that case, the savings compound: One-tenth the sensors in each of two dimensions translates to one-hundredth the sensors in the complete array.

###

Written by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office

Additional background

Paper: "Multi-coset sparse imaging arrays": http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=06710127

Gregory Wornell: http://allegro.mit.edu/~gww/

Archive: "The blind codemaker": http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2012/error-correcting-codes-0210

Abby Abazorius | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

Further reports about: Laboratory Technology Terahertz algorithm collision ensures measurements phenomenon sonar technique wavelength

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Linear potentiometer LRW2/3 - Maximum precision with many measuring points
17.05.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH

nachricht First flat lens for immersion microscope provides alternative to centuries-old technique
17.05.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>