Microwave Imaging

Collaborative project of Optics in Medicine Director Keith Paulsen, Dartmouth Engineering Professor Paul Meaney, and researchers at both Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Geisel School of Medicine featured in Focus.

Researchers at the Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology Research Program (CIR) at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center study and test new ways to get good images using techniques that exploit different properties of tissue. This research program includes a collaborative team of engineers, family physicians, oncologists, and radiologists.

Focus article photo
A semi-transparent CT view of one a study participant’s heel and ankle. The horizontal line overlays indicate where scientists will set the microwave imaging planes.

Microwave imaging has been shown reliable in detecting breast tumors

One area we are exploring is microwave technology: the same basic technology used in microwave ovens can be used to create an image of breast tissue. By sending very low levels (1,000 times less than a cell phone) of microwave energy through tissue, researchers can form a three-dimensional image. These images capture the dielectric properties — electrical conductivity and permittivity (electrical resistance) — of the tissue, which translates into detecting anomalies, such as tumors or other aberrations.

Paul Meaney, a professor at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, has been working on microwave engineering for more than 15 years, primarily with Keith Paulsen, the co-director of the CIR, and also the Robert A. Pritzker Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering; professor of radiology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; and director of the Dartmouth Advanced Imaging Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

For full article, please visit Focus by the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC).