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The reflectance of human skin in the millimeter-wave band

Owda, AY and Salmon, N and Casson, AJ and Owda, M (2020) The reflectance of human skin in the millimeter-wave band. Sensors (Switzerland), 20 (5). ISSN 1424-8220

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Abstract

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The millimeter-wave band is an ideal part of the electromagnetic radiation to diagnose human skin conditions because this radiation interacts only with tissue down to a depth of a millimetre or less over the band range from 30 GHz to 300 GHz. In this paper, radiometry is used as a non-contact sensor for measuring the human skin reflectance under normal and wet skin conditions. The mean reflectance of the skin of a sample of 50 healthy participants over the (80–100) GHz band was found to be ~0.615 with a standard deviation of ~0.088, and an experimental measurement uncertainty of ±0.005. The thinner skin regions of the back of the hand, the volar forearms and the inner wrist had reflectances 0.068, 0.068 and 0.062 higher than the thicker skin regions of the palm of the hand, the dorsal forearm and the outer wrist skin. Experimental measurements of human skin reflectance in a normal and a wet state on the back of the hand and the palm of the hand regions indicated that the mean differences in the reflectance before and after the application of water were ~0.078 and ~0.152, respectively. These differences were found to be statistically significant as assessed using t-tests (34 paired t-tests and six independent t-tests were performed to assess the significance level of the mean differences in the reflectance of the skin). Radiometric measurements in this paper show the quantitative variations in the skin reflectance between locations, sexes, and individuals. The study reveals that these variations are related to the skin thickness and water content, a capability that has the potential to allow radiometry to be used as a non-contact sensor to detect and monitor skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, malignancy, and burn wounds.

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