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Title: Wearable devices for microwave head diagnostic systems
Author: Bashri, Mohd Saiful Riza
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 6958
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Although current head imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are capable of providing accurate diagnosis of brain injuries such as stroke and brain tumour, they have several limitations including high cost, long scanning time, bulky and mostly stationary. On the other hand, radar-based microwave imaging technology can offer a low cost, non-invasive and non-ionisation method to complement these existing imaging techniques. Moreover, a compact and wearable device for microwave head imaging is required to facilitate frequent or real-time monitoring of a patient by providing more comfort to the patient. Therefore, a wearable head imaging device would be a significant advantage compared to the existing wideband microwave head sensing devices which typically utilise rigid antenna structure. Furthermore, the wearable device can be integrated into different microwave imaging setups such as real-time wearable head imaging systems, portable systems and conventional stationary imaging tools for use in hospitals and clinics. This thesis presents the design and development of wearable devices utilising flexible antenna arrays and compact radio frequency (RF) switching circuits for wideband microwave head imaging applications. The design and characterisation of sensing antennas using flexible materials for the wearable head imaging device are presented in the first stage of this study. There are two main variations of monopole antennas that have been developed in this research, namely trapezoidal and elliptical configurations. The antennas have been fabricated using different flexible substrate materials such as flexible FR-4, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and textile. Wideband performances of the antennas have been achieved by optimising their co-planar waveguide feeding line structures. Importantly, the efficiencies of the fabricated antennas have been tested using a realistic human head phantom by evaluating their impedance matching performances when operating in close proximity to the head phantom. The second stage of the study presents the development of wearable antenna arrays using the proposed flexible antennas. The first prototype has been built using an array of 12 flexible antennas and a conformal absorbing material backed with a conductive sheet to suppress the back lobe radiation of the monopole antennas. Additionally, the absorber also acts as a mounting base to hold the antennas where the wearable device can be comfortably worn like a hat during the measurement and monitoring processes. The effect of mutual coupling between adjacent antennas in the array has been investigated and optimised. However, the use of the absorbing material makes the device slightly rigid where it can only be fitted on a specific head size. Thus, a second prototype has been developed by using a head band to realise a stretchable configuration that can be mounted on different sizes of human heads. Furthermore, due to the stretchable characteristic of the prototype, the antennas can be firmly held in their positions when measurements are made. In addition, fully textile based sensing antennas are employed in this prototype making it perfectly suitable for monitoring purposes. Low cost and compact switching circuits to provide switching mechanism for the wearable antenna array are presented in the third stage of this study. The switching circuit is integrated with the antenna array to form a novel wearable microwave head imaging device eliminating the use of external bulky switching network. The switching circuit has been built using off-the-shelf components where it can be controlled wirelessly over Bluetooth connection. Then, a new integrated switching circuit prototype has been fabricated using 6-layer printed circuit board (PCB) technology. For the purpose of impedance matching for the radio-frequency (RF) routing lines on the circuit, a wideband Microstrip-to-Microstrip transition is utilised. The final stage of this study investigates the efficacy and sensitivity of the proposed wearable devices by performing experiments on developed realistic human head phantoms. Initially, a human head phantom has been fabricated using food-based ingredients such as tap water, sugar, salt, and agar. Subsequently, lamb's brains have been used to improve the head phantom employed in the experiments to better mimic the heterogeneous human brain. In terms of imaging process, an interpolation technique developed using experimental data has been proposed to assist the localisation of a haemorrhage stroke location using the confocal delay-and-sum algorithm. This new technique is able to provide sensible accuracy of the location of the blood clot inside the brain. The wearable antenna arrays using flexible antennas and their integrations with compact and low cost switching circuits reported in this thesis make valuable contribution to microwave head imaging field. It is expected that a low-cost, compact and wearable radar-based microwave head imaging can be fully realised in the future for wide range of applications including static scanning setup in hospitals, portable equipment in ambulances and as a standalone wearable head monitoring system for remote and real-time monitoring purposes.
Supervisor: Arslan, Tughrul ; Cheung, Rebecca Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging ; computed tomography ; radar-based microwave imaging technology ; wearable devices ; microwave head imaging ; monopole antennas ; textile based sensing antennas ; wearable antenna array