Defect Detection Via THz Imaging: Potentials & Limitations
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Until recent years, terahertz (THz) waves were an undiscovered, or most importantly, an unexploited area of electromagnetic spectrum. This was due to difficulties in generation and detection of THz waves. Recent advances in hardware technology have started to open up the field to new applications such as THz imaging. This non-destructive and non-contact imaging technique can penetrate through diverse materials such that internal structures, in some cases invisible to other imaging modalities, can be visualized. Today, there are variety of techniques available to generate and detect THz waves in both pulsed and continuous fashion in two different geometries; transition, and reflection modes. In this thesis continuous wave THz imaging was employed for higher spatial resolution. However, with any new technology comes its challenges; automated processing of THz images can be quite cumbersome. Low contrast and the presence of a widely unknown type of noise make the analysis of these images difficult. In this work, there is an attempt to detect defects in composite material via segmentation by using a Terahertz imaging system. According to our knowledge, this is the first time that this type of materials are being tested under Terahertz cameras to detect manufacturing defects in aerospace industry. In addition, segmentation accuracy of THz images have been investigated by using a phantom. Beyond the defect detection for composite materials, this can establish some general knowledge about Terahertz imaging, its capabilities and limitations. To be able to segment the THz images successfully, pre-processing techniques are inevitable. In this thesis, a variety of different image processing techniques, self-developed or available from literature, have been employed for image enhancement. These methods range from filtering to contrast adjustment to fusion of phase and amplitude images by using fuzzy set theory, to just name a few. The result of pre-procssing and segmentation methods demonstrates promising outcome for future work in this field.