Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

New high frequency antenna with separate transmitter and receiver enabling effective tomographic measurements

The work package includes the development of a new high frequency radar antenna system with a center frequency around 1.6 GHz. This allows for high-resolution non-destructive mapping. The antenna system will be based on existing radar antenna technology from Malå Geoscience.

The new high-frequency system will be flexible in the sense that it will allow for a separation of the transmitter and receiver units. Two identical units containing both receiver and transmitter antenna can be connected to the control unit, one acting as transmitter, the other acting as receiver. This flexibility makes the system useful both for reflection mode measurements and tomography measurements in which the transmitter and receiver are located on both sides of a wall, for example.

The commercial value of the antenna will be high, due to the fact that there are multiple applications in which a high resolution is needed. This holds true not only for the actual project, but also for applications like measurement of asphalt thickness and the detection of fractures in concrete. Other applications, like the estimation of water content in small samples of different materials are possible with this new high-frequency antenna. Examples of such materials are seed, corn, crop and sawdust.

Unfortunately certain restrictions in the use of high-frequency systems are foreseen. Today such restrictions for frequencies exceeding 960MHz are already implemented in the USA.

The value of a high-frequency antenna lies in the fact that the resolution is improved compared to existing antennas. In all sorts of NDT (non-destructive testing) where the interesting scale is of the order decimeters, it is important that the wavelength is of the same order of magnitude. A 1GHz antenna will thus have a wavelength of about 10cm in most materials, and a 1.6GHz antenna will have a wavelength of about 6cm. This allows for detailed mapping of structures down to only a few centimetres. Furthermore, the bandwidth of the antenna extends beyond the centre frequency of 1.6 GHz, thus allowing for high-resolution mapping.

The major benefit of the antenna is the combination with the data collection system and the positioning system. The whole system is designed in such a way that the start-up time is very short. By activating a push-button on the antenna, the operator can in a few seconds calibrate the positioning system for the actual measuring area, and while measuring the operator can control the data collection via the push-button. On the attached monitor (robust, tough and equipped with a highly visible display) the path of the antenna movement is visualized in real-time, together with the data collection.

The antenna is very small (LxWxH = 135x73x54mm) with a weight of 600g (handle not included).

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