The Michigan Engineer News Center

Amr Ibrahim receives Rackham Int. Student Fellowship to develop Sub-MMW radar system

Amr plans to explore different alternatives to fabricating radar systems such that they are both reliable and compact.| Short Read
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Amr Ibrahim, graduate student in Electrical Engineering, received a Rackham International Student Fellowship to support his research in the area of sub-millimeterwave (Sub-MMW) radar systems. Amr works with Kamal Sarabandi, Rufus S. Teesdale Professor of Engineering and Director of the Radiation Laboratory.

The main driving force to develop Sub-MMW radar systems originates from security applications and, in particular, stand-off imaging of persons and hidden objects, including illicit drugs and explosives. Imaging in this frequency band is attractive because the corresponding wavelength is short enough to provide very high resolution with moderate aperture size, yet long enough to penetrate materials such as clothing and packaging materials. Additional applications for Sub-MMW systems are high-speed, short-distance, line-of-sight communication links, and short-range navigation radar systems envisioned for autonomous robotic applications.

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IMAGE:  Characterization of the radar cross section of a grass rough surface

“The main theme of my Ph.D. work,” said Amr, “is to investigate and characterize the unique advantages as well as performance limitations of such systems working in typical outdoor environments.” He spent most of last summer performing outdoor experiments to characterize the radar signature of different types of surfaces (grass, concrete, asphalt, etc.) found in a typical outdoor environment.

Amr has already developed a model to deal with the problem of imaging through rain at the frequency of 240 GHz, and published two related articles. These models are particularly important when using radar to assist in aircraft landings. Amr also plans to explore different alternatives to fabricating these radar systems such that they are both reliable and compact.

“I believe my research here will have a profound impact on the future generation of short-range, stand-off concealed object detection radar systems in particular, and on Sub-MMW radar and communication systems in general,” said Amr.

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read