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Chirp or frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) radar is a very well-known method for range applications. Using the current technology, conventional FMCW radar for W-band waves requires the use of expensive microwave mixers and low noise amplifiers (LNA). A uniquely simple and inexpensive solution is presented using very inexpensive glow discharge detectors (GDDs). The use of GDDs enables direct beating between the electric field of the target signal and the reference signal eliminating the requirement for expensive millimeter wave mixers, sources, and LNAs. This unique solution to FMCW radar is proven to be capable of determining range to target, and creating 3-D radar images. In this paper, a proof of concept of chirp/FMCW radar detection using a GDD in the W-band regime is demonstrated experimentally. The GDD chirp radar system has the following advantages: 1) much simpler realization in short range applications; 2) rigid, room temperature operation; 3) sub-microsecond response time; 4) large dynamic range; and 5) immunity to high-power radiation.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2013