Advanced Microwave Imaging
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Advanced Microwave Imaging (AMWI) uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range for inspection services. Specialized inspection equipment and methods couples multi-frequency data collection using Vector Network Analyzers with specifically designed antennae. The use of a bespoke antenna system for specific materials and conditions tremendously improves the response of the device and allows for enhanced defect detection and sizing. The antennae are also designed with broadband features that provide for expanded frequency ranges that can be used during the inspection. The expanded frequency range provides multiple benefits. First the expanded frequency range increases the probability of defect detection by increasing the possibilities for a reflected signal from specific defect types. This is particularly true when comparing to older single frequency systems. Secondly, the increased frequency range provides for finer depth increment than a smaller frequency range. Using a bespoke antenna/VNA system allows that system to be better matched to geometry, material, and inspection conditions. This provides for the best possible inspection situation and enhances results.
In the following images, a 300MM by 300MM - 15MM thick Kevlar panel with manufactured defects was inspected using two microwave systems, a single frequency microwave system operating at 10GHz and the latest AMWI multi-frequency system with matched antenna, operating at 6GHz to 14GHz.
In these images, the AMWI Inspection system inspection image shows essentially all of the embedded flaws whereas the single frequency image clearly shows only two of the flaws. Additionally the AMWI software allows for manipulating the image to create alternate views so that all of the embedded flaws show clearly in the images. Additionally, the depth of the defects can be ascertained in the AMWI image whereas in the single frequency image depth cannot be determined.