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Development of a Microwave Footwear Screening System for Concealed Threat Detection.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr ND Rezgui
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference Number: NDR-2018-PhD-1

Project Summary:
The project is to develop, build and evaluate a practical UWB Microwave Footwear Scanner for the detection of concealed threats suitable for a deployable screening system to image and detect automatically concealed threats in shoes whilst they are being worn to increase throughput at airports or other venues.

Specific Requirements of the Project


Applicants should hold a 2.1 or EU equivalent undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline such as Electric and Electronic Engineering or Physics. Applicants should have good experience in programming, analytical, experimental, project management and communication skills.

Project Aims and Objectives


The continuing threat of concealed weapons and contraband in footwear, bags and suitcases such as guns, knives, plastic explosives, cash and drugs has led to the investigation and development of new devices that can be deployed to facilitate the checking process for security screening at airports to prevent weapons and plastic explosives being carried on board aircraft.

Passengers have to divest their shoes to be x-rayed with their luggage at checkpoints before boarding the plane and this technique has caused inconvenience to passengers and has reduced throughput at airports.

Currently, metal detectors are employed to detect concealed metallic objects, passengers pass through a portal or are scanned by a hand held device operated by security personnel, which is effective in detecting metallic objects such as guns and knives but these cannot locate non-metallic objects such as ceramic knives or plastic guns and explosives hidden in shoes.

To address these deficiencies, an alternative approach is an Ultra Wide Band (UWB) Footwear Scanner has been built as a proof of concept around a Vector Network Analyser (VNA) working in the K Q bands between 15 to 40 GHz. By moving the transceiver horn antenna along the length of the shoe a 2D microwave image corresponding to a radar cross section through the footwear is built up, which can be interpreted by the user, or processed automatically, to reveal the presence of concealed threat within the shoe.

The project is to build, test and evaluate a deployable fast demonstrator UWB Microwave Scanner based on a 2D planar array antenna system to screen passengers’ footwear without the need to divest their shoes. The device will be able to image and detect automatically concealed within the shoes metallic and non-metallic objects such as knives and explosives in order to increase throughput at airports or other venues. Replace the VNA and XY stage by a 2D planar array antenna combined with homodyne radar front-end and a fast data acquisition and analysis DSP. Develop software to control, acquire and process microwave footwear images for various band frequencies from X to Q bands.

Project is open to: Home/EU and overseas

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Nacer-Ddine Rezgui
Tel +44 161 247 2801 email [Email Address Removed]



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