Feasibility study of fiducial marker localization using microwave radar

Sarah Han-Oh, Kai Ding, Daniel Song, Amol Narang, John Wong, Yu Rong, Daniel Bliss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: We explore the potential use of radar technology for fiducial marker tracking for monitoring of respiratory tumor motion during radiotherapy. Historically microwave radar technology has been widely deployed in various military and civil aviation applications to provide detection, position, and tracking of single or multiples objects from far away and even through barriers. Recently, due to many advantages of the microwave technology, it has been successfully demonstrated to detect breast tumor, and to monitor vital signs in real time such as breathing signals or heart rates. We demonstrate a proof-of-concept for radar-based fiducial marker tracking through the synthetic human tissue phantom. Methods: We performed a series of experiments with the vector network analyzer (VNA) and wideband directional horn antenna. We considered the frequency range from 2.0 to 6.0 GHz, with a maximum power of 3 dBm. A horn antenna, transmitting and receiving radar pulses, was connected to the vector network analyzer to probe a gold fiducial marker through a customized synthetic human tissue phantom, consisting of 1-mm thickness of skin, 5-mm fat, and 25-mm muscle layers. A 1.2 × 10-mm gold fiducial marker was exploited as a motion surrogate, which was placed behind the phantom and statically positioned with an increment of 12.7 mm to simulate different marker displacements. The returned signals from the marker were acquired and analyzed to evaluate the localization accuracy as a function of the marker position. Results: The fiducial marker was successfully localized at various measurement positions through a simplified phantom study. The averaged localization accuracy across measurements was 3.5 ± 1.3 mm, with a minimum error of 1.9 mm at the closest measurement location and a maximum error of 4.9 mm at the largest measurement location. Conclusions: We demonstrated that the 2–6 GHz radar can penetrate through the attenuating tissues and localize a fiducial marker. This successful feasibility study establishes a foundation for further investigation of radar technology as a non-ionizing tumor localization device for radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7271-7282
Number of pages12
JournalMedical physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • development (new technology and techniques)
  • microwave
  • motion management (intrafraction)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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