A 4-channel, vector network analyzer microwave imaging prototype based on software defined radio technology
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2019
We have implemented a prototype 4-channel transmission-based, microwave measurement system built on innovative software defined radio (SDR) technology. The system utilizes the B210 USRP SDR developed by Ettus Research that operates over a 70 MHz-6 GHz bandwidth. While B210 units are capable of being synchronized with each other via coherent reference signals, they are somewhat unreliable in this configuration and the manufacturer recommends using N200 or N210 models instead. For our system, N-series SDRs were less suitable because they are not amenable to RF shielding required for the cross-channel isolation necessary for an integrated microwave imaging system. Consequently, we have configured an external reference that overcame these limitations in a compact and robust package. Our design exploits the rapidly evolving technology being developed for the telecommunications environment for test and measurement tasks with the higher performance specifications required in medical microwave imaging applications. In a larger channel configuration, the approach is expected to provide performance comparable to commercial vector network analyzers at a fraction of the cost and in a more compact footprint.