Natalia Koleva Nikolova
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

My team works on radio-frequency, microwave and millimeter-wave imaging and detection. This research area is the next frontier of wireless technology. Our current focus is on: (i) the detection of on-body concealed weapons on walking persons, (ii) microwave breast imaging for cancer screening, and (iii) detection of structural flaws (e.g., cracks and pits) under protective coatings in industrial applications.

Our cognitive radar for the stand-off detection of on-body concealed weapons detects various threats such as handguns, knives, grenades and explosive vests hidden under the clothing of persons who may be standing or walking nearby (within a range of about 3 m). It is small and inconspicuous enabling covert surveillance. It can be installed behind the wall, at an entranceway, a foyer, or a hallway. Our long-term goal is to deploy networks of such radar units, which will work in collaboration with CCTV cameras, providing much needed layer of security in public transit, schools, places of entertainment, etc.

Meanwhile, we push the limits of this technology by increasing the detection range to 15 or 20 meters in an unpredictable outdoor environment. This technology aims at providing military, police and security professionals with an early warning system during field operations involving armed dangerous individuals. The small size of the system will enable portable or wearable deployment.

My team is also in the forefront of the development of near-field microwave imaging systems with applications in tissue imaging and non-destructive testing. We are developing a new generation of electronically-switched microwave sensor arrays that will provide unprecedented scanning speeds. Each sensor in the array is a miniature radio. Our goal is to reduce the acquisition time and the image generation to less than a minute. An exciting application of this technology is a compact, safe, and low-cost scanner for early-stage breast-cancer detection that could increase dramatically the outreach and the efficiency of the breast-cancer screening programs.
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  • PHONE: 905-525-9140 ext. 27141
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