Microwave and millimeter-wave signals span the frequency ranges of ~300 MHz-30 GHz and 30 GHz-300 GHz, corresponding to wavelength ranges of 1000-10 mm and 10-1 mm, respectively. Signals at these frequencies readily penetrate inside dielectric materials and composites and interact with their inner structures. The intrinsic nature of the interaction of these signals with material media and the relatively small wavelengths and wide bandwidths associated with these signals enable inspection of a variety of materials with a high degree of sensitivity. Furthermore, availability of robust and advanced electromagnetic models and modeling tools and improved imaging techniques rendering real-time, high-resolution (3-D) images of materials and structures are specific and attractive features that have brought tremendous visibility and viability to these techniques. Currently, these methods are capable of addressing critical NDE issues, some of which include: (1) characterization of multiphase materials and mixture compositions, (2) evaluation of surface-breaking cracks, particularly those under nonconductive coatings, (3) inspection of complex layered composite structures, (4) detection of corrosion and pitting undercoatings, (5) inspection of aircraft radome, and (6) inspection and imaging of thermal protective layers. Finally, advances in innovative hardware design, development of easy-to-use software packages, and availability of commercial off-the-shelf components and systems have resulted in inspection systems that are affordable, portable, field-deployable, and easy to use. One exceptional aspect of these developments has been in 3-D, high-resolution, real-time, and field-portable imaging system development. This presentation provides a brief overview of imaging techniques in this regime and recent advances made in the field, including several examples of recently developed imaging systems specifically designed for NDE applications.
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