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Acoustically/Vibrationally Enhanced High Frequency Electromagnetic Detector for Buried Landmines



OBJECTIVE: Develop a detector for landmines with enhanced performance based on linear and non-linear acoustic, vibrational, and electromagnetic (EM) combined effects.

DESCRIPTION: The rapid detection of buried landmines and discrimination from clutter remains a major problem for military tactical mobility, for soldier protection, and for humanitarian remediation of previously contested geographical areas. Traditional EM sensors for detecting buried landmines have used low frequencies (tens to hundreds of KHz) EMI (Electromagnetic Interference-metal) detectors and much higher frequencies (typically several GHz) for Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Recent results (refs. 1-2) indicated that the frequency range between the standard EMI and GPR detectors may offer advantages for the detection of landmines and landmine components, either in conjunction with a traditional sensor modality or separately. Older results (refs. 3-4) indicated that linear and nonlinear vibrational responses of landmines and other metal and non-metal buried objects could have distinct signatures which could be leveraged for detection and discrimination. Meanwhile other reports (eg. ref. 5) indicated that vibrations of a buried landmine or metal components can be sensitively detected by GPR operating at several GHz or lower in frequency.

PHASE I: Demonstrate by simulation and analysis the potential enhancement to be gained by leveraging the combined EM and vibrational effects on the signatures of buried targets for the purpose of detecting landmines and discriminating from clutter. Consider the EM frequency range from tens of KHz to several GHz. Consider linear and nonlinear vibrational and EM effects on the target signatures of the buried objects and any component parts (such as fuzing mechanisms). Consider the use of multiple or swept EM and/or vibrational frequencies. Determine the potential enhancement over published performance of current landmine detection systems in use. Design a detection system roughly within the size and weight footprint of the current AN/PSS14 (ref. 6). Design a component to create the vibration at the target. This may be either contained in the sensor itself or a separate component. There is no specified footprint for the separate component, other than that it must be compatible with tactical military mobility.

PHASE II: Explore with carefully designed experiments the optimum combinations of EM and vibrational effects for detecting landmines and their components and discriminating them from clutter. Experimentally verify the key results of the analysis in phase I. Develop signal processing embodied in software to exploit the advantages in target signatures. Develop a prototype system to include sensor, a vibrational component, and signal processing software package and demonstrate it in the laboratory and in field trials. Define in detail the path to commercialization, considering producing the system in-house, using external fabrication facilities for all or part of the production, licensing all or part of the technology to government contractors for landmine detection equipment or their commercial competitors, or selling directly to government program management offices. Consider military markets or marketing to non-governmental organizations (NGO's) involved in humanitarian or other remediation of mined areas.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Develop the packaging of the system compatible with the commercialization plan being pursued. Insure the packaging conforms to the expected uses and users environment. Consider other commercial applications, such as detection of buried plastic pipes. In the construction of houses, roads, sidewalks, utility infrastructure and maintenance activities buried metal pipes can be detected and avoided, but buried plastic pipes are often inadvertently cut or destroyed. Develop markets and address them.


    • Daniel C. Heinz, Michael L. Brennan, Michael B. Steer, Adam W. Melber, and John T. Cua, "High to very high-frequency metal/anomaly detector," Proc. of SPIE 9072, 907209 (2014).


    • Daniel C. Heinz, Michael L. Brennan, Michael B. Steer, Adam W. Melber, and John T. Cua, "Phase Response of High to Very High Frequency Metal/Anomaly Detector," Proc. of SPIE 9454, 94540H (2015).


    • . Dimitri M. Donskoy, "Nonlinear vibro-acoustic technique for landmine detection," Proc. of SPIE 3392, 211 (1998).


    • Dimitri Donskoy, Alexander Ekimov, Nikolay Sedunov, and Mikhail Tsionskiy, "Nonlinear seismo-acoustic land mine detection and discrimination," J. Accoust. Soc. Am. 111, 2705 (2002).


    • Joshua M. Wetherington and Michael B. Steer, "Sensitive Vibration Detection Using Ground-Penetrating Radar," IEEE Microw. and Wireless Components Lett. 23, 680 (2013).


  • See the following web site:

KEYWORDS: landmine detection, electromagnetic induction sensors, EMI sensors, GPR, ground penetrating radar, vibrational detection, buried object detection, manufacturing landmine detection sensors

  • TPOC-1: Dr. James Harvey
  • Phone: 703-696-2533
  • Email:
  • TPOC-2: Dr. Steven Bishop
  • Phone: 703-704-1037
  • Email:
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