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ECE PhD Defense: "Generalized Optical Theorem Detection in Random and Complex Media," Jing Tu


424 Snell Engineering Center

April 5, 2016 4:00 pm
April 5, 2016 4:00 pm


The problem of detecting changes of a medium or environment based on active, transmitplus-receive wave sensor data is at the heart of many important applications including radar, surveillance, remote sensing, nondestructive testing, and cancer detection. This is a challenging problem because both the change or target and the surrounding background medium are in general unknown and can be quite complex. This Ph.D. dissertation presents a new wave physics-based approach for the detection of targets or changes in rather arbitrary backgrounds. The proposed methodology is rooted on a fundamental result of wave theory called the optical theorem, which gives real physical energy meaning to the statistics used for detection.

This dissertation is composed of two main parts. The first part significantly expands the theory and understanding of the optical theorem for arbitrary probing fields and arbitrary media including nonreciprocal media, active media, as well as time-varying and nonlinear scatterers. The proposed formalism addresses both scalar and full vector electromagnetic fields. The second contribution of this dissertation is the application of the optical theorem to change detection with particular emphasis on random, complex, and active media, including single frequency probing fields and broadband probing fields.

The first part of this work focuses on the generalization of the existing theoretical repertoire and interpretation of the scalar and electromagnetic optical theorem. Several fundamental generalizations of the optical theorem are developed. A new theory is developed for the optical theorem for scalar fields in nonhomogeneous media which can be bounded or unbounded. The bounded media context is essential for applications such as intrusion detection and surveillance in enclosed environments such as indoor facilities, caves, tunnels, as well as for nondestructive testing and communications systems based on wave-guiding structures. The developed scalar optical theorem theory applies to arbitrary lossless backgrounds and quite general probing fields including near fields which play a key role in super-resolution imaging. The derived formulation holds for arbitrary passive scatterers, which can be dissipative, as well as for the more general class of active scattterers which are composed of a (passive) scatterer component and an active, radiating (antenna) component. 

Furthermore, the generalization of the optical theorem to active scatterers is relevant to many applications such as surveillance of active targets including certain cloaks and invisible scatterers and wireless communications. The latter developments have important military applications. The derived theoretical framework includes the familiar real power optical theorem describing power extinction due to both dissipation and scattering as well as a reactive optical theorem related to the reactive power changes. Meanwhile, the developed approach naturally leads to three optical theorem indicators or statistics, which can be used to detect changes or targets in unknown complex media. In addition, the optical theorem theory is generalized in the time domain so that it applies to arbitrary full vector fields, and arbitrary media including anisotropic media, nonreciprocal media, active media, as well as time-varying and nonlinear scatterers.

The second component of this Ph.D. research program focuses on the application of the optical theorem to change detection. Three different forms of indicators or statistics are developed for change detection in unknown background media: a real power optical theorem detector, a reactive power optical theorem detector, and a total apparent power optical theorem detector. No prior knowledge is required of the background or the change or target. The performance of the three proposed optical theorem detectors is compared with the classical energy detector approach for change detection. The latter uses a mathematical or functional energy while the optical theorem detectors are based on real physical energy. For reference, the optical theorem detectors are also compared with the matched filter approach which (unlike the optical theorem detectors) assumes perfect target and medium information. The practical implementation of the optical theorem detectors is based for certain random and complex media on the exploitation of time reversal focusing ideas developed in the past 20 years in electromagnetics and acoustics. In the final part of the dissertation, we also discuss the implementation of the optical sensors for one-dimensional propagation systems such as transmission lines. Finally, we also address the practical implementation of the optical theorem sensors for optical imaging system, by means of holography. The later is the first holographic implementation the optical theorem for arbitrary scenes and targets.

Advisor: Professor Edwin A. Marengo

Professor Edwin A. Marengo
Professor Anthony J. Devaney
Professor Jose A. Martinez-Lorenzo
Dr. Fred K. Gruber