Abstract

Active millimeter wave imaging systems have become a promising candidate for indoor security applications and industrial inspection. However, there is a lack of simulation tools at the system level. We introduce and evaluate two modeling approaches that are applied to active millimeter wave imaging systems. The first approach originates in Fourier optics and concerns the calculation in the spatial frequency domain. The second approach is based on wave propagation and corresponds to calculation in the spatial domain. We compare the two approaches in the case of both rough and smooth objects and point out that the spatial frequency domain calculation may suffer from a large error in amplitude of 50% in the case of rough objects. The comparison demonstrates that the concepts of point-spread function and f-number should be applied with careful consideration in coherent millimeter wave imaging systems. In the case of indoor applications, the near-field effect should be considered, and this is included in the spatial domain calculation.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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