OSC Colloquium: Natan (Norm) Kopeika

Natan Kopeika


3:30 to 5 p.m., April 27, 2023


Title: Inexpensive Millimeter Wave/THz Imaging and Communication Using Neon Indicator Lamps as Detectors


Millimeter wave (MMW)/terahertz (THz) radiation proved to be a versatile regime in the electromagnetic spectrum that can be employed in a wide range of applications in imaging systems, communication systems, and space technology. A novel technology using a very inexpensive detector element to generate faster MMW/ THz images and for communication purposes has been developed. The neon indicator lamp alternatively known as the glow discharge detector (GDD) is used as the sensor element that can be configured either in the electrical or up-conversion detection mode in which the MMW image is converted to an optical image which can be captured with a CCD. The focal plane arrays (FPA) constructed using GDDs as pixel elements proved to be an inexpensive method for MMW/THz imaging and communication systems. As a prototype, we currently developed a row detector circuit comprising 8 GDDs that was configured to perform oversampling, thereby generating MMW/THz images similar to those achieved by employing larger FPAs. Oversampling or sub-pixel imaging was performed by mounting the row detector on a step motor assembly. User-friendly GUI was also designed to suitably select the step size depending on the required matrix size of the resultant MMW/THz image. A suitable digital algorithm that can provide strong noise filtering was utilized here and hence it exhibits a better detection capability even under very low radiation exposure. By using image processing methods, performance enhancement and expansion of the detection system can be achieved.


Natan S. Kopeika was born in Baltimore in 1944. He received B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966, 1968, and 1972, respectively. He joined the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 1973. He chaired the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering [1989-1993], and in 1994 was named Reuven and Francis Feinberg Professor of Electro-optics. He was the first chair of the Department of Electro-optics and Photonics Engineering 1999-2005, which grants graduate degrees only. He and Shlomi Arnon were awarded the JJ Thomson Award by the IEE in 1999 for an outstanding paper. In 2001 he was awarded the Glant Prize for excellence in teaching. He is a Fellow of SPIE (2000). He has published over 200 papers in international reviewed journals, over 180 papers at various conferences, and 3 books. Recent research involves the development of a novel inexpensive focal plane array camera for MMW/THz imaging.  Other areas of research include: interactions of electromagnetic waves with plasmas, the opto-galvanic effect, environmental effects on optoelectronic devices, imaging system theory, propagation of light, images, and wireless communication through the atmosphere, image processing and restoration from atmospheric motion and vibration blur,  lidar, and target acquisition.

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