Investigation of RF Direct Detection Architecture Circuits for Metamaterial Sensor Applications
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Recent advances in metamaterials research has enabled the development of highly sensitive near-field microwave sensors with unprecedented sensitivity. In this work, we take advantage of the increase in the sensitivity to produce a compact, lightweight, affordable, and accurate measurement system for the applications of microwave imaging and material characterization. This sensitivity enhancement due to the inclusion of metamaterials opens the door for the use of inexpensive microwave components and circuits such as direct detectors while leveraging the high sensitivity of the metamaterial probe to deliver an overall accurate measurement system comparable to that of a traditional probe used in conjunction with a vector network analyzer. The sensor developed is composed of a metamaterial sensor with an RF direct detection circuit. In this work, two prototype measurement systems have been designed and tested. Measurement of small cracks in conductors and material characterization using the proposed system were performed. The results from the newly developed sensors were compared with the results from vector network analyzer measurements. Good agreement was obtained. The feasibility of a compact, lightweight, affordable, and accurate system has been demonstrated by using the developed prototypes.