Date of Award

6-2015

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Dennis Derickson

Abstract

Radar systems that allow early detection of underground IEDs can save lives. The Microwave Impulse Radar (MIR) capable of IED detection requires antennas capable of transmitting sub-nanosecond pulses over ultra-wideband (UWB) frequency ranges. This thesis investigates the suitability of a novel MIR antenna for high-accuracy ground-penetrating radar (GPR) applications. Key GPR antenna considerations are pulse dispersion, size, and cost. UWB horn antennas provide excellent dispersion performance but limit system efficacy due to significant size and cost requirements. Micro-strip spiral antennas provide a low-cost alternative to UWB horn antennas, but common spiral designs demonstrate poor pulse dispersion performance. The article “Low-Dispersion Spiral Antennas” proposes using combination spirals, which combine the performance of multiple simple spiral antennas. This work investigates combination spiral suitability through 3D EM simulations and micro-strip fabrication. Testing results indicate that combination spirals possess improved pulse fidelity versus current spiral designs. Size and cost improvements are realized over horn antenna solutions. Updated simulation hardware and fabrication equipment could allow future combination spiral antennas to rival horn antenna performance.

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