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Design, fabrication and deployment of a miniaturized spectrometer radiometer based on MMIC technology for tropospheric water vapor profiling

Flavio Iturbide-Sanchez, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation describes the design, fabrication and deployment of the Compact Microwave Radiometer for Humidity profiling (CMR-H). The CMR-H is a new and innovative spectrometer radiometer that is based on monolithic microwave and millimeter-wave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology and is designed for tropospheric water vapor profiling. The CMR-H simultaneously measures microwave emission at four optimally-selected frequency channels near the 22.235 GHz water vapor absorption line, constituting a new set of frequencies for the retrieval of the water vapor profile. State-of-the-art water vapor radiometers either measure at additional channels with redundant information or perform multi-frequency measurements sequentially. The fabrication of the CMR-H demonstrates the capability of MMIC technology to reduce substantially the operational power consumption and size of the RF and IF sections. Those sections comprise much of the mass and volume of current microwave receivers for remote sensing, except in the case of large antennas. The use of the compact box-horn array antenna in the CMR-H demonstrates its capability to reduce the mass and volume of microwave radiometers, while maintaining similar performance to that of commonly-used, bulky horn antennas. Due to its low mass, low volume, low power consumption, fabrication complexity and cost, the CMR-H represents a technological improvement in the design of microwave radiometers for atmospheric water vapor observations. The field test and validation of the CMR-H described in this work focuses on comparisons of measurements during two field experiments from the CMR-H and a state-of-the-art microwave radiometer, which measures only in a volume subtended by the zenith-pointing antenna's beam pattern. In contrast, the CMR-H is designed to perform volumetric scans and to function correctly as a node in a network of radiometers. Mass production of radiometers based on the CMR-H design is expected to enable the implementation of a dense network of radiometers designed to perform measurements of the 3-D water vapor field, with the potential to improve weather forecasting, particularly the location and timing of the initiation of intense convective activity responsible for potentially damaging winds, rain, hail and lightning.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Atmosphere|Remote sensing

Recommended Citation

Iturbide-Sanchez, Flavio, "Design, fabrication and deployment of a miniaturized spectrometer radiometer based on MMIC technology for tropospheric water vapor profiling" (2007). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3289217.