Phenomenology and Technology in Support of Sub-Terahertz Radar Systems
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Sub-terahertz (Sub-THz) systems operate at the interface between electronics and photonics, and have challenges from both disciplines. One of the main driving forces to develop such systems originates from security applications and, in particular, stand-off imaging of persons and hidden objects including concealed weapons and illicit explosives. Other important applications include very high speed, short distance, line-of- sight communication links, as well as short-range navigation radars envisioned for autonomous vehicles and unmanned drones. Radar systems operating in this frequency range have the potential to approach the resolution of optical imaging systems while operating under adverse conditions of weather.
In this thesis, I investigate and characterize the unique advantages as well as performance limitations of such radar systems working around 240 GHz in typical outdoor environments. The research has three main directions, which are: 1) developing novel scattering models that can accurately describe the propagation and scattering of electromagnetic wave in sparse random media like snow, rain, or dust at 240 GHz, 2) dielectric and radar cross-section measurement of different synthetic and artificial targets found in typical radar environments, and 3) developing and fabricating novel phase shifter with minimal insertion loss in support of sub-THz electronic beam steering antennas.