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Phys Med Biol. 2008 Jul 21;53(14):3883-901. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/14/011. Epub 2008 Jun 30.

Characterization of a digital microwave radiometry system for noninvasive thermometry using a temperature-controlled homogeneous test load.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Microwave radiometry has been proposed as a viable noninvasive thermometry approach for monitoring subsurface tissue temperatures and potentially controlling power levels of multielement heat applicators during clinical hyperthermia treatments. With the evolution of technology, several analog microwave radiometry devices have been developed for biomedical applications. In this paper, we describe a digital microwave radiometer with built-in electronics for signal processing and automatic self-calibration. The performance of the radiometer with an Archimedean spiral receive antenna is evaluated over a bandwidth of 3.7-4.2 GHz in homogeneous and layered water test loads. Controlled laboratory experiments over the range of 30-50 degrees C characterize measurement accuracy, stability, repeatability and penetration depth sensitivity. The ability to sense load temperature through an intervening water coupling bolus of 6 mm thickness is also investigated. To assess the clinical utility and sensitivity to electromagnetic interference (EMI), experiments are conducted inside standard clinical hyperthermia treatment rooms with no EM shielding. The digital radiometer provided repeatable measurements with 0.075 degrees C resolution and standard deviation of 0.217 degrees C for homogeneous and layered tissue loads at temperatures between 32-45 degrees C. Within the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, EM noise rejection was good other than some interference from overhead fluorescent lights in the same room as the radiometer. The system response obtained for ideal water loads suggests that this digital radiometer should be useful for estimating subcutaneous tissue temperatures under a 6 mm waterbolus used during clinical hyperthermia treatments. The accuracy and stability data obtained in water test loads of several configurations support our expectation that single band radiometry should be sufficient for sub-surface temperature monitoring and power control of large multielement array superficial hyperthermia applicators.

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