Differential ultra-wideband microwave imaging: principle application challenges
Wideband microwave imaging is of interest wherever optical opaque scenarios need to be analyzed, as these waves can penetrate biological tissues, many building materials, or industrial materials. One of the challenges of microwave imaging is the computation of the image from the measurement data because of the need to solve extensive inverse scattering problems due to the sometimes complicated wave propagation. The inversion problem simplifies if only spatially limited objects—point objects, in the simplest case—with temporally variable scattering properties are of interest. Differential imaging uses this time variance by observing the scenario under test over a certain time interval. Such problems exist in medical diagnostics, in the search for surviving earthquake victims, monitoring of the vitality of persons, detection of wood pests, control of industrial processes, and much more. This paper gives an overview of imaging methods for point-like targets and discusses the impact of target variations onto the radar data. Because the target variations are very weak in many applications, a major issue of differential imaging concerns the suppression of random effects by appropriate data processing and concepts of radar hardware. The paper introduces related methods and approaches, and some applications illustrate their performance.