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Development of techniques and technology for full polarimetric radar applied to concealed weapons detection

Blackhurst, E. J. (2020) Development of techniques and technology for full polarimetric radar applied to concealed weapons detection. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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One of the biggest threats to modern society is the increasing use by criminals and terrorists of concealed weapons and person born improvised explosive devices (PBIED). Current highly mature security screening technologies using x-ray and metal detectors have limited deployment scenarios based on health and safety issues and operational range, respectively. Given that most clothing is greater than 90% transmissive in the microwave region, this spectral band is ideal for screening people for concealed threats. However, due to diffraction, imagery to screen subjects is limited due to the small number of pixels. In this regime, the exploitation of microwave polarimetry from the field of remote sensing has particular benefits, as it extracts maximum information content from a single pixel. The work presented in this thesis has assembled a full polarimetric frequency stepped radar from a vector network analyser (VNA), a linear orthogonal mode transducer (OMT) of the turnstile type and a conical corrugated horn antenna. The system’s characterisation by antenna pattern measurements, the measuring of canonical targets of the plane, dihedral, dipole and helical reflectors showed the system to be capable of making localised Sinclair matrix measurements of targets at ranges of two to three metres. The work presents a calibration procedure comprising the VNA’s internal calibration and an external calibration to compensate for dispersion and cross-polar leakage of system components. Static target measurements (canonical and various surrogate items) were analysed, using range gating for clutter rejection. Calibrated Sinclair parameter measurements compared with those from simple simulations, all software being programmed in Matlab. Measurements of moving targets revealed the phenomenon of speckle, this introducing rapid changes in the Sinclair Parameters. Data analysis performed using the coherency matrix and the Cloude/Pottier decomposition minimised the effects of speckle in the processed data. Measurements show movement from particularly rough surfaces increased the parameter of the Cloude/Pottier entropy, the level of this being directly linked to the degree of speckle. Application of the Huynen polarisation fork technique (a type of decomposition) has proved to aid the identification of static and moving targets. A detailed analysis of iii the Huynen fork responses is made of the human torso on its own, weapons on their own and then weapons positioned against the human torso. Responses of nondangerous objects such as keys and a smartphone are additionally presented.

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