Non-invasive thermal assessment of tissue phantoms using an active near field microwave imaging technique

John T Chang, K. Paulsen, P. Meaney, M. Fanning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


An active microwave imaging system for non-invasive temperature sensing has been developed and evaluated. The system is designed to assess biological tissues undergoing thermal therapy. This paper presents results that demonstrate the imaging capabilities of the microwave method using simulated and experimental phantom materials. Results from both numerical studies and laboratory experiments have been analysed and are presented. The imaging system uses a 16 channel fixed monopole array transceiver unit operating over a bandwidth of 300-900 MHz. The annular array diameter is 14.75cm and is immersed in a 0.9% saline solution. Standard heterodyning principles are used for signal detection leading to a dynamic range of the system of better than 115dB. Image formation is accomplished with a 2-D finite element based, near-field iterative technique. This allows the simultaneous reconstruction of both the real and imaginary components of the dielectric property distribution in tissue equivalent phantoms. Data acquisition currently captures 144 complex field measurements per image. Image reconstruction requires approximately 2 min per iteration with a typical convergence in less than 10 steps. Experiments performed to evaluate the temperature dependence of biological phantoms (saline with variable salt concentrations) are described. The numerical accuracy and precision of the reconstruction algorithm based upon these phantom studies are presented. Simple laboratory models of localized hyperthermia have been used to evaluate the experimental accuracy and precision of the imaging system. A numerical precision of 0.02°C and an accuracy of 0.37°C have been observed with the current algorithm. In laboratory experiments, images have been reconstructed at different target temperatures and target saline concentrations. The effect of placing high contrast biological phantoms (i.e. bone/fat simulants) along with the heated objects have also been studied. Localized heating of the biological phantom is achieved by pumping a saline solution of pre-selected concentration through enclosed ends of hollow dielectric cylinders having approximately 5cm inner diameter and 4 mm wall thickness. The temperature of the heated zone is preset and maintained to ± 0.2°C by an external heater and circulator. The results currently show that a maximum temperature precision of 0.98°C and maximum relative accuracy of 0.56°C has been achieved in the laboratory using the current generation of the prototype system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-534
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Hyperthermia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Data acquisition
  • Image reconstruction
  • Microwave
  • Non-invasive thermometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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