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Proceedings Paper

A novel technology for fast detection and imaging of subsurface tunnels
Author(s): Michael Frenkel; Sofia Davydycheva
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Paper Abstract

The majority of clandestine tunnels have been found without the use of technology. Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) is currently the leading Electromagnetic (EM) method used to spot tunnels. However, reliable detection of small and deep air-filled tunnels can be a challenging problem for the GPR-based technology under many environmental conditions, e.g., wet overburden soil of a relatively low resistivity. To fill this gap, there is a need for new types of measurements armed with robust and fast data interpretation algorithms. We suggest a new method based on the vertical focusing of the EM field, which we call Tunnel Detection Focused-Source EM (TD-FSEM). Low-frequency EM pulses excite the earth surface, and the transient responses are measured during the off-time by quadrupole receivers. The results of 3D modeling performed on a set of benchmark models for both the proposed and the GPR methods illustrate the capabilities and physical limitations of the two techniques. Feasibility study results indicate that our approach provides sufficient depth of penetration and sensitivity to detect 2x2 m tunnels located 12 m underground when the overburden resistivity is below 20 Ωm. It is shown that GPR would not be able to detect these tunnels.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7669, Radar Sensor Technology XIV, 766908 (27 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852675
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Frenkel, Border Security Technologies, LLC (United States)
Sofia Davydycheva, Border Security Technologies, LLC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7669:
Radar Sensor Technology XIV
Kenneth I. Ranney; Armin W. Doerry, Editor(s)

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