The microwave properties of tissue and other lossy dielectrics
This thesis describes work on the theoretical modelling and experimental measurement of the complex permittivity of dielectrics. The main focus of research has been into the characterisation of permittivity of planar and layered samples within the millimetre wave band. The measurement method is based on the free-space measurement of the transmission and reflection coefficients of samples. A novel analytical method of determining the transmission and reflection coefficients as functions of frequency arising from a generalised structure of planar dielectric layers is also described and validated. The analytical method is based on signal flow techniques. The measurement and analytical techniques have been applied in two main areas: firstly, the acquisition of new data on human skin in the band 57 to 100GHz and secondly, the detection and location of defects in composite materials for which a band of 90 to 100GHz was used. Measurements have been made on the complex permittivity of a single sample of excised human skin fixed in formaldehyde. The experimental results have been corrected to account for the fixing process in formaldehyde and are projected to body temperature. This data is, to the best of the author’s knowledge, the first of its kind to be published. Predicted skin permittivity based on various relaxation models varies widely and only partially fits the measured data. The experimental results have been used to determine the parameters of a Cole-Cole function which gives the best fit to the measured data. The measured skin data has also been used to calculate power deposition in skin exposed to millimetre wave radiation. This work concludes that a skin surface temperature rise of only 0.20C results from a thirty second exposure to signals of 100W/m2. Experimental work with fibreglass composite samples has shown that defects such as delaminations, voids, matrix cracks and improper cure result in resolvable differences in the dielectric properties of the samples at 90 – 100GHz. The measurement technique is particularly sensitive to the detection of cracks and its spatial resolution is 20mm or better. Whilst confirming the general conclusions of previously published work, the specific findings of this study are novel.