Design, development, and evaluation of a clinical system for breast microwave imaging
Solis Nepote, Mario Alejandro
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Breast Microwave Imaging (BMI) has a promising future for breast cancer detection. In radar-based approaches, backscattered signals are reconstructed into images of reflections from the breast tissues to visualize tumors, which are sources of larger scatter than normal tissue. This thesis presents the development and evaluation of a new radar-based, BMI system designed for clinical use. Breast phantoms were developed with synthetic skin, morphologically accurate 3D-printed materials, and dielectrically appropriate tissue surrogates. Phantom scans with the system resulted in artifact-free images, accurate detection of a 1.5-cm-wide tumor, and signal-to-clutter ratios greater than 20 dB. The comfort and safety of the system were validated during a pre-clinical trial involving 11 asymptomatic volunteers. The effects of antenna positioning errors in BMI systems were characterized using the developed system and a hemispherical breast phantom. This work established a set of minimal and ideal tolerances for antenna positioning equipment in BMI systems.