First Advisor

Lisa M. Zurk

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering




Electromagnetic waves -- Scattering, Electromagnetism, Finite differences, Time-domain analysis



Physical Description

1 online resource (xxii, 183 p.) : ill. (chiefly col.)


Terahertz (THz) reflection and transmission spectroscopy is a promising new field with applications in imaging and illicit material detection. One particularly useful application is for the detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which is a favorite weapon of global terrorists. Explosive materials have been shown to have a unique spectral signature in the THz band which can be used to identify the explosives. However, the initial measurements performed on the explosive samples do not account for the modulation of the spectral features by random scattering that will be prevalent with actual samples encountered in applications. The intent of this work is to characterize and quantify the effects of random scattering that may alter the spectral features. Specifically, the effect that a randomly rough surface and granular scattering has on the scattered THz wave (T-Rays) will be investigated and characterized using the Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) simulation method. The FDTD method is a natural choice for this work as it can handle complicated geometries (i.e., multiple scatterers, arbitrarily rough interfaces, etc.) arbitrary materials (i.e., dispersive media, etc.) and provides broadband frequency data with one simulation pass. First, the effect that the randomly rough surface of the sample explosive has on the extracted spectral signature will be studied using a Monte-Carlo analysis. Then the effect of the complex structure inside the explosive material (the granular scatterers) will be considered. Next, when the physics of the rough surface and granular scattering are understood, a robust method to extract the spectral signature from the reflected T-rays will be developed.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Persistent Identifier