Inspired by the way dolphins hunt using bubble nets, scientists at the University of Southampton, in collaboration with University College London and Cobham Technical Services, have developed a new kind of radar that can detect hidden surveillance equipment and explosives.
The twin inverted pulse radar (TWIPR) is able to distinguish true 'targets', such as certain types of electronic circuits that may be used in explosive or espionage devices, from 'clutter' (other metallic items like pipes, drinks cans, nails for example) that may be mistaken for a genuine target by traditional radar and metal detectors.
The new system has been developed by a team led by Professor Tim Leighton from the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research and is based on his unique sonar concept called twin inverted pulse sonar (TWIPS). TWIPS exploits the natural abilities of dolphins to process their sonar signals to distinguish between targets and clutter in bubbly water. Some dolphins have been observed to blow 'bubble nets' around schools of fish, which force the fish to cluster together, and their sonar would not work if they could not distinguish the fish from the bubbles.
The technique uses a signal consisting of two pulses in quick succession, one identical to the other, but phase inverted. Professor Leighton, along with Professor Paul White and students Dan Finfer and Gim Hwa Chua, showed that TWIPS could enhance linear scatter from the target, while simultaneously suppressing nonlinear scattering from oceanic bubbles.
Professor Leighton's team proposed that the TWIPS method could be applied to electromagnetic waves and that the same technique would work with radar. They teamed up with Professor Hugh Griffiths and Dr Kenneth Tong of University College London and Dr David Daniels of Cobham Technical Services to test the proposal, by applying TWIPR radar pulses to a 'target' (a dipole antenna with a diode across its feedpoint - typ
|Contact: Glenn Harris|
University of Southampton