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650 GHz bistatic scattering measurements on human skin



Richard A. Chamberlin, Natalie P. Mujica-Schwahn, Erich N. Grossman


Many groups are developing submillimeter cameras that will be used to screen human subjects for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other threat items hidden beneath their clothing. To interpret submillimeter camera images the scattering properties, specifically the bidirectional scattering distribution function (BSDF) must be known. This problem is not trivial because surfaces of man-made objects and human skin have topographic features comparable to the wavelength of submillimeter radiation-thus simple, theoretical scattering approximations do not apply. To address this problem we built a goniometer instrument to measure the BSDF from skin surfaces of live human subjects illuminated with a beam from a 650 GHz synthesized source. To obtain some multi-spectral information, the instrument was reconfigured with a 160 GHz source. Skin areas sampled are from the hand, interior of the forearm, abdomen, and back. The 650 GHz beam has an approximately Gaussian profile with a FWHM of approximately 1 cm. Instrument characteristics: angular resolution 2.9°; noise floor -45 dB/sr; dynamic range ˃ 70 dB; either s or p-polarization; 25° bidirectional-scattering-angle ≤ 180°; The human scattering target skin area was placed exactly on the goniometer center of rotation with normal angle of incidence to the source beam. Scattering power increased at the higher frequency. This new work enables radiometrically correct models of humans.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of SPIE: Security + Defense
Conference Dates
May 5-9, 2014
Conference Location
Baltimore, MD
Conference Title
SPIE Security + Defense


submillimeter bidirectional reflectance distribution, human skin submillimeter bidirectional reflectance distribution, human skin


Chamberlin, R. , Mujica-Schwahn, N. and Grossman, E. (2014), 650 GHz bistatic scattering measurements on human skin, Proceedings of SPIE: Security + Defense, Baltimore, MD, [online], (Accessed May 21, 2024)


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Created June 9, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018