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Electronics Production | November 01, 2011

Rohde & Schwarz supplies equipment for clinical trials

Rohde & Schwarz has supplied vector network analyzers to Bristol University spin-out Micrima for the clinical trials of their breast cancer screening technique.
MARIA (Multistatic Array processing for Radiowave Image Acquisition) is an ultra wideband radio system that can be used to detect tumours by generating high-resolution 3D images of the human breast. Professor Ian Craddock and Professor Alan Preece from Bristol University developed the wideband antenna array, which lies comfortably beneath the breast.

The array connects via a switch matrix to the test ports of a R&S ZVT8 Vector Network Analyzer, which takes fast frequency sweep measurements. Post-processing is carried out on a computer using software developed by the research group.

“Speed of measurement is critical for this application. We were therefore very impressed by the fast measurement capability offered by the R & S ZVT8 8 Port Network Analyser. The analyser’s parallel data acquisition across 16 receivers has enabled us to reduce measurement time from a little over one minute to nine seconds, which is good news for patients and for screening throughput,” commented Professor Ian Craddock from Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Bristol University.

Jamie Lunn, Rohde & Schwarz UK’s RF & Microwave product specialist said: “We are immensely proud that our instrumentation is being used to progress such a valuable research goal.”

Micrima’s goal is to create a compact, low cost version of the MARIA system that could be situated in GP surgeries and mobile screening units. With breast cancer being the most common cause of death for women aged between 35 and 59 in Europe, it is hoped by all involved that the technique may eventually ensure that all women, regardless of age, could be routinely screened.

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