Real time three-dimensional space video rate sensors for millimeter waves imaging based very inexpensive plasma LED lamps

Assaf Levanon, Yitzhak Yitzhaky, Natan S. Kopeika, Daniel Rozban, Amir Abramovich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In recent years, much effort has been invested to develop inexpensive but sensitive Millimeter Wave (MMW) detectors that can be used in focal plane arrays (FPAs), in order to implement real time MMW imaging. Real time MMW imaging systems are required for many varied applications in many fields as homeland security, medicine, communications, military products and space technology. It is mainly because this radiation has high penetration and good navigability through dust storm, fog, heavy rain, dielectric materials, biological tissue, and diverse materials. Moreover, the atmospheric attenuation in this range of the spectrum is relatively low and the scattering is also low compared to NIR and VIS. The lack of inexpensive room temperature imaging systems makes it difficult to provide a suitable MMW system for many of the above applications. In last few years we advanced in research and development of sensors using very inexpensive (30-50 cents) Glow Discharge Detector (GDD) plasma indicator lamps as MMW detectors. This paper presents three kinds of GDD sensor based lamp Focal Plane Arrays (FPA). Those three kinds of cameras are different in the number of detectors, scanning operation, and detection method. The 1st and 2nd generations are 8 × 8 pixel array and an 18 × 2 mono-rail scanner array respectively, both of them for direct detection and limited to fixed imaging. The last designed sensor is a multiplexing frame rate of 16×16 GDD FPA. It permits real time video rate imaging of 30 frames/sec and comprehensive 3D MMW imaging. The principle of detection in this sensor is a frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) system while each of the 16 GDD pixel lines is sampled simultaneously. Direct detection is also possible and can be done with a friendly user interface. This FPA sensor is built over 256 commercial GDD lamps with 3 mm diameter International Light, Inc., Peabody, MA model 527 Ne indicator lamps as pixel detectors. All three sensors are fully supported by software Graphical Unit Interface (GUI). They were tested and characterized through different kinds of optical systems for imaging applications, super resolution, and calibration methods. Capability of the 16x16 sensor is to employ a chirp radar like method to produced depth and reflectance information in the image. This enables 3-D MMW imaging in real time with video frame rate. In this work we demonstrate different kinds of optical imaging systems. Those systems have capability of 3-D imaging for short range and longer distances to at least 10-20 meters.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMillimetre Wave and Terahertz Sensors and Technology VII
EditorsEddie L. Jacobs, Neil Anthony Salmon
ISBN (Electronic)9781628413151
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014
EventMillimetre Wave and Terahertz Sensors and Technology VII - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Sep 201425 Sep 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering


ConferenceMillimetre Wave and Terahertz Sensors and Technology VII


  • Calibration technique
  • Focal plane array
  • Imaging
  • Millimeter waves
  • Systems embedded

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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