Detection of hidden objects using a real-time 3-D millimeter-wave imaging system

Daniel Rozban, Avihai Aharon, Amir Abramovich, Assaf Levanon, Yitzhak Yitzhaky, N. S. Kopeika

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Millimeter (mm)and sub-mm wavelengths or terahertz (THz) band have several properties that motivate their use in imaging for security applications such as recognition of hidden objects, dangerous materials, aerosols, imaging through walls as in hostage situations, and also in bad weather conditions. There is no known ionization hazard for biological tissue, and atmospheric degradation of THz radiation is relatively low for practical imaging distances. We recently developed a new technology for the detection of THz radiation. This technology is based on very inexpensive plasma neon indicator lamps, also known as Glow Discharge Detector (GDD), that can be used as very sensitive THz radiation detectors. Using them, we designed and constructed a Focal Plane Array (FPA) and obtained recognizable2-dimensional THz images of both dielectric and metallic objects. Using THz wave it is shown here that even concealed weapons made of dielectric material can be detected. An example is an image of a knife concealed inside a leather bag and also under heavy clothing. Three-dimensional imaging using radar methods can enhance those images since it can allow the isolation of the concealed objects from the body and environmental clutter such as nearby furniture or other people. The GDDs enable direct heterodyning between the electric field of the target signal and the reference signal eliminating the requirement for expensive mixers, sources, and Low Noise Amplifiers (LNAs).We expanded the ability of the FPA so that we are able to obtain recognizable 2-dimensional THz images in real time. We show here that the THz detection of objects in three dimensions, using FMCW principles is also applicable in real time. This imaging system is also shown here to be capable of imaging objects from distances allowing standoff detection of suspicious objects and humans from large distances.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence X; and Optical Materials and Biomaterials in Security and Defence Systems Technology XI
EditorsDouglas Burgess, Harbinder Rana, Roberto Zamboni, Attila A. Szep, Gari Owen, Francois Kajzar
ISBN (Electronic)9781628413168
StatePublished - 2014
EventOptics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence X - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 22 Sep 201423 Sep 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence X


  • FMCW
  • Heterodyne
  • Hidden object detection
  • THz imaging


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