Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering

First Advisor

Zoya Popovic

Second Advisor

Erich Grossman

Third Advisor

Edward Kuester

Fourth Advisor

Dejan Filipovic

Fifth Advisor

Dana Anderson


This thesis presents the analysis and design of a microwave radiometer for internal body temperature measurements. There is currently no available method for non-invasive temperature measurement inside the human body. However, knowledge of both relative and absolute temperature variations over time is important to a number of medical applications. The research presented in this thesis details a proof-of-concept near-field microwave radiometer demonstrating relative thermometry of a multi-layer phantom.

There are a number of technical challenges addressed in this thesis for radiometric determination of sub-degree temperature variations in the human body. A theoretical approach is developed for determining sensing depth from known complex layered tissues, which is defined as a figure of merit, and is shown to be dependent on frequency, electrical properties of the tissues, and the near-field probe. In order to obtain depth resolution, multiple frequency operation can be used, so multi-frequency probes are designed and demonstrated in this work.

The choice of frequencies is determined not only by the tissue material properties, but also by the ever increasing radio interference in the environment. In this work, quiet bands allocated to radio astronomy are investigated. The radiometer and probe need to be compact to be wearable, and several advancements are made towards a fully wearable device: multi-frequency low-profile probes are designed and fabricated on a flexible substrate and the process of on-chip integration is demonstrated by a GaAs MMIC cold noise source for radiometer calibration.

The implemented proof-of-concept device consists of two radiometers at 1.4 GHz and 2.7 GHz, designed with commercial inexpensive devices that can enable sufficient sensitivity. The device is tested on a phantom with two water layers whose temperatures are varied in a controlled manner, and focused on the human body temperature range. Measured results are discussed qualitatively as they relate to circadian rhythm monitoring. Finally, the thesis identifies future research that is required to make a practical wearable microwave thermometer for internal body temperature measurements.