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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2012, Article ID 562563, 11 pages
Research Article

Measurement and Analysis of Microwave Frequency Signals Transmitted through the Breast

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4

Received 2 September 2011; Accepted 6 December 2011

Academic Editor: Paul Meaney

Copyright © 2012 Jeremie Bourqui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Microwave approaches to breast imaging include the measurement of signals transmitted through and reflected from the breast. Prototype systems typically feature sensors separated from the breast, resulting in measurements that include the effects of the environment and system. To gain insight into transmission of microwave signals through the breast, a system that places sensors in direct contact with the breast is proposed. The system also includes a lossy immersion medium that enables measurement of the signal passing through the breast while significantly attenuating signals traveling along other paths. Collecting measurements at different separations between sensors also provides the opportunity to estimate the average electrical properties of the breast tissues. After validation through simulations and measurements, a study of 10 volunteers was performed. Results indicate symmetry between the right and left breast and demonstrate differences in attenuation, maximum frequency for reliable measurement, and average properties that likely relate to variations in breast composition.