Metamaterial-inspired antenna array for application in microwave breast imaging systems for tumor detection

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This paper presents a study of a planar antenna-array inspired by the metamaterial concept where the resonant elements have sub-wavelength dimensions for application in microwave medical imaging systems for detecting tumors in biological tissues. The proposed antenna consists of square-shaped concentric-rings which are connected to a central patch through a common feedline. The array structure comprises several antennas that are arranged to surround the sample breast model. One antenna at a time in the array is used in transmission-mode while others are in receive-mode. The antenna array operates over 2-12 GHz amply covering the frequency range of existing microwave imaging systems. Measured results show that compared to a standard patch antenna array the proposed array with identical dimensions exhibits an average radiation gain and efficiency improvement of 4.8 dBi and 18%, respectively. The average reflection-coefficient of the array over its operating range is better than S 11 ≤ -20 dB making it highly receptive to weak signals and minimizing the distortion encountered with the transmission of short duration pulse-trains. Moreover, the proposed antenna-array exhibits high-isolation on average of 30 dB between radiators. This means that antennas in the array (i) can be closely spaced to accommodate more radiators to achieve higher-resolution imaging scans, and (ii) the imagining scans can be done over a wider frequency range to ascertain better contrast in electrical parameters between malignant tumor-tissue and the surrounding normal breast-tissue to facilitate the detection of breast-tumor. It is found that short wavelength gives better resolution. In this experimental study a standard biomedical breast model that mimics a real-human breast in terms of dielectric and optical properties was used to demonstrate the viability of the proposed antenna over a standard patch antenna in the detection and the localization of tumor. These results are encouraging for clinical trials and further refinement of the antenna-array.
Array antenna, Microstrip technology, Metamaterial, Microwave breast imaging systems, Biosensor, Tumor detection, Cancer, Medical imaging
Bibliographic citation
Alibakhshikenari, M., Virdee, B. S., Shukla, P., Parchin, N. O., Azpilicueta, L., See, C. H., Abd-Alhameed, R. A., Falcone, F., Huynen, I., Denidni, T. A., & Limiti, E. (2020). Metamaterial-Inspired antenna array for application in microwave breast imaging systems for tumor detection. IEEE Access, 8, 174667-174678.