15 May 2018 High fill factor RF aperture arrays for improved passive, real-time millimeter wave imaging
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Sensors operating in the millimeter wave region of the electromagnetic spectrum provide valuable situational awareness in degraded visual environments, helpful in navigation of rotorcraft and fixed wing aircraft. Due to their relatively long wavelength, millimeter waves can pass through many types of visual obscurants, including smoke, fog, dust, blowing sand, etc. with low attenuation. Developed to take advantage of these capabilities, ourmillimeter wave imager employs a unique, enabling receiver architecture based on distributed aperture arrays and optical upconversion. We have reported previously on operation and performance of our passive millimeter wave imager, including field test results in DVE and other representative environments, as well as extensive flight testing on an H-1 rotorcraft. Herein we discuss efforts to improve RF and optical component hardware integration, with the goal to increase manufacturability and reduce c-SWaP of the system. These outcomes will allow us to increase aperture sizes and channel counts, thereby providing increased receiver sensitivity and overall improved image quality. These developments in turn will open up new application areas for the passive millimeter wave technology, as well as better serving existing ones.
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Thomas E. Dillon, Thomas E. Dillon, Christopher A. Schuetz, Christopher A. Schuetz, Daniel G. Mackrides, Daniel G. Mackrides, Andrew Wright, Andrew Wright, Kevin Shreve, Kevin Shreve, Charles Harrity, Charles Harrity, Stephen Kocazik, Stephen Kocazik, Shouyuan Shi, Shouyuan Shi, Peng Yao, Peng Yao, Dennis W. Prather, Dennis W. Prather, "High fill factor RF aperture arrays for improved passive, real-time millimeter wave imaging ", Proc. SPIE 10642, Degraded Environments: Sensing, Processing, and Display 2018, 106420U (15 May 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2304869; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2304869

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