"Microwave Sensing for Environmental and Biomedical Applications"

Mahta Moghaddam, Professor, USC

November 13th (Wednesday), 10:00am
Engineering Science Building, Rm 2001

This presentation will provide an overview of ongoing research in our group in the general area of applied electromagnetics, with multipronged theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches to solving realistic sensing problems in complex media. These problems include (1) radar remote sensing of the Earth environment, in particular for characterization and monitoring of subsurface and water resources, and (2) noninvasive and non-ionizing microwave medical imaging, therapy, and treatment monitoring systems.

Radar remote sensing has long been recognized as a key component of an effective environmental observing strategy, due to the strong relationships of radar measurements with geometric and compositional properties of the Earth’s landscape. Here, we outline some of the critical problems in environmental remote sensing and discuss how our research addresses a number of the shortcomings by developing new sensor technologies, electromagnetic scattering and inverse scattering models, and physics-based statistical signal processing algorithms. The focus will be on remote sensing of water resources with low-frequency radars and employing computational scattering and inverse scattering methods. The emerging research for mapping profiles of soil water content (‘soil moisture’), variations in permafrost properties in the arctic, and ground water in arid/semiarid environments, will be discussed.

Electromagnetic waves in the microwave regime have also been used for a variety of medical applications in the past several decades. Microwave imaging, reminiscent of multistatic radar, was perhaps the first such application. More recently, non-contact hyperthermia and invasive probe-based ablation methods have seen clinical use for thermal therapeutic purposes. A persisting challenge with such systems, however, is monitoring the temporal and spatial progress of heat deposition for proper treatment. This talk will include an overview of our recent work on the development of microwave imaging, thermal therapy, and thermal monitoring systems, with emphasis on the latter. A summary of analyses and results will be included to show successful retrieval of temperature fields with a precision of better than 1o C and spatial resolution of about 2-3 cm at a refresh rate of about 1 frame per second, which makes this method realistically useful in a clinical setting.

About Mahta Moghaddam:

photo of Mahta Moghadda Mahta Moghaddam is William M. Hogue Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Prior to that she was at the University of Michigan (2003-2011) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, 1991-2003). She received the B.S. degree in 1986 from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas with highest distinction, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1989 and 1991, respectively, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, all in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She was a systems engineer for the Cassini Radar and served as Science Chair of the JPL Team X (Advanced Mission Studies Team). Her most recent research interests include the development of new radar instrument and measurement technologies for subsurface and subcanopy characterization from spaceborne, airborne, and drone-based vantage points, development of forward and inverse scattering techniques for layered random media especially for soil moisture and permafrost applications, geophysical retrievals using signal-of-opportunity reflectometry, and transforming concepts of radar remote sensing to medical imaging and therapy systems. Dr. Moghaddam is a member of the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) mission Science Team and a member of the Cyclones Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) Science Team. She was the principal investigator of the AirMOSS NASA Earth Ventures 1 mission, is a Fellow of IEEE, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Hosted by: Professor John Bowers