IMAGINE - An Innovative, Ultra Low Cost, High Performance, Monolithic Millimetre Wave Imager Module to Increase the Safety of European Citizens
This web site provides information about the IMAGINE project. The official start date of the project was 1st Jan. 2010 and its duration was 2½ years finishing in June 2012.
Protecting its citizens from terrorism remains a high priority for the EC. Current state of the art security procedures for air travel have significantly improved airport security. However, there is a need to protect the softer, unprotected areas such as mass transportation systems and hubs that could be targeted with devastating effect. Such areas are largely unprotected because current security systems are very expensive, bulky and too slow. Therefore, there is an urgent need for innovative new security screening technology that can provide low cost, high performance, rapid ‘walk-by’ screening at normal flow rates.
Whilst millimeter wave (mm-wave) technology is a possible leading technology, cost is a barrier. The critical part of such systems is the detector module; at a typical cost of over €1k per pixel, the module accounts for ~60% of the overall system cost. At present this high cost is due to the cost of semiconductor material, packaging and the cost of assembly and tuning to overcome resonance effects.
The FP7 Research for SME project IMAGINE perform research and development in order to increase integration, reduce size and costs, whilst maintaining high performance, for passive mm-wave imager front-end modules utilizing the 94 GHz electromagnetic radiation ‘window’.
The main innovation areas for the project are:
i) the development of a 94 GHz radiometer chipset and matching circuits suitable for monolithic integration. The chipset consists of a W-band low noise amplifier, fabricated using the commercially available OMMIC D007IH GaAs mHEMT process, and a zero bias resonant interband tunneling diode, fabricated using a patented epi-layer structure that is lattice matched to the same D007IH process;
ii) the development of a 94 GHz antenna adapted for low cost manufacturing methods with performance suitable for real-time imaging;
iii) the development of a low cost liquid crystal polymer PCB build-up technology with performance suitable for the integration and assembly of a 94 GHz radiometer module;
iv) the assembly of technology demonstrator modules.