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Seminar @ SAMS by St Andrews millimetre wave physicist

Dr Duncan Roberston from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews is visiting SAMS this week to present some of his work as part of our weekly seminar series. After the seminar on "Millimetre Wave Sensors for Environmental Monitoring", Dr Robertson and his colleague Dr David Macfarlane will lead an informal discussion on possible applications of mm-wave imaging to marine science.

As background to the talk, Dr Robertson supplied the following abstract:
Sensors operating in the millimetre wave part of the EM spectrum (30-300GHz) are ideally suited for applications that must operate in degraded environmental conditions yet require high resolution in a compact instrument.

The Millimetre Wave & EPR Group at St Andrews specialises in developing novel instrumentation for industrial, scientific and defence applications. With an emphasis on imaging sensors, the group has developed and field deployed several radar and radiometric instruments for environmental and security applications. While much of the group’s environmental sensing research has been motivated by volcano monitoring, the technology is applicable to a wide range of other scenarios. In general, the basic properties that can be measured with these sensors are distance, velocity, reflectivity and temperature and this can be done at distances of up to several kilometres and in all but the worst weather conditions (e.g. heavy rain) using compact, portable, low power consumption instruments.

Typical tasks for millimetre wave sensors include 3D topographic mapping and digital elevation model (DEM) generation, change detection, slow displacement / slope stability monitoring, target velocity measurement / moving target identification, and 2D thermal imaging. Many of these can be done in real time. Applications for which these techniques are suitable include topographic change monitoring, very high resolution mapping of rainfall, mapping of sea wave crests, ash/dust cloud probing, and cloud profiling.

Dr Robertson will review the basic operating principles of millimetre wave sensors and showcase a range of application examples, with the aim of stimulating interest in this technology and broadening the range of application end users.

SAMS seminars are open to all staff, students and SAMS members. This week's seminar will be held on Wed May 9 at 12pm in the WSB room.

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