Iowa State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) faculty Reza Zoughi and Mohammad T. Al Qaseer have been awarded the 2020 IEEE Harold A. Wheeler Applications Prize Paper Award for their outstanding work in their academic paper entitled, “A Compact Microwave Camera Based on Chaotic Excitation Synthetic-Aperture Radar (CESAR).” This award is presented to the authors of the best applications paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation (TAP) during the previous year.
“This paper has been built on multiple years of research,” said Zoughi, director of the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE), the Kirby Gray (Battelle) Chair in Engineering, and a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) Department who joined ECpE in fall of 2019.
In their paper, Zoughi and Al Qaseer, who holds a research associate professor position in ECpE, along with Matthew Horst, a Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) alum. The team introduced a new microwave imaging methodology that is called the Chaotic Excitation Synthetic-Aperture Radar (CESAR).
The technology that the group developed is a new Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)-based microwave imaging methodology, which was developed specifically for implementation as a microwave camera with significantly less hardware compared to other cameras.
“It’s a similar technology used in airport scanners,” Al Qaseer said. However, this technology offers a real-time, three-dimensional, high-resolution and portable method for SAR-based microwave imaging methodology, with significantly less hardware complexity and overhead.
“Our focus is on the same type of systems but on smaller scales,” Al Qaseer said. “An example would be to use it on something made out of fiberglass, looking to see what defects it has on the inside.”
Zoughi and Al Qaseer said that this technology has other biomedical applications, which includes diagnosis of burned skin, skin grafts and skin cancers.
Zoughi and Al Qaseer focus their research in the areas of microwave and millimeter wave nondestructive evaluation, which is a specific band of frequency spectrum within which they develop and employ methods for nondestructive evaluation. They also conduct research in the areas of material characterization, layered structure inspection and surface breaking crack inspection, particularly under coatings, as well as real-time imaging technology development.
Horst, a researcher and author involved in the research, is a former Missouri University of Science and Technology graduate who was awarded the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Engineering Undergraduate Award in 2014. Horst was also honored with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship in 2015. He is a former Ph.D. student of Zoughi’s. Horst’s research interests include antenna design, real-time imaging system design, and materials evaluation. He has since completed his Ph.D. degree and is successfully in the workforce.
Zoughi and Al Qaseer were also part of Missouri University of Science and Technology before coming to Iowa State in 2019. Al Qaseer worked as an associate research professor at the university, and Zoughi served as the Schlumberger Distinguished Professor and director of the Applied Microwave Nondestructive Testing Laboratory (AMNTL).
Al Qaseer is also a recipient of the 2013 H.A. Wheeler Prize Paper Award of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (APS), the 2013 I&M Outstanding Young Engineer Award of the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society (IMS), the 2014 IEEE J. Barry Oakes Advancement Award and the 2015 ASNT Research Award for Innovation.
Zoughi has received the 2007 IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society Distinguished Service Award, the 2009 American Society for Nondestructive Testing Research Award for Sustained Excellence, the 2011 IEEE Joseph F. Keithley Award in Instrumentation and Measurement and the Harold A. Wheeler Prize Paper Award of the IEEE (APS) in 2013 as well as many other awards.
“This is the second time they have received this award, the first one in 2013, and speaks volumes of the persisting quality of research in Tayeb and Reza’s group,” said ECpE Professor and Palmer Department Chair Ashfaq Khokhar.