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Development of Millimeter Wave Radar

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The development of millimeter wave radar began in the 1940s. In the 1950s, millimeter-wave radar (working wavelength is about 8 mm) was used for airport traffic control and marine navigation. It shows the advantages of high resolution, high precision and small antenna aperture. However, due to technical difficulties, the development of millimeter wave radar has been limited. These technical difficulties are mainly as follows: with the increase of working frequency, the output power and efficiency of power source decrease, and the loss of receiver mixer and transmission line increases. Since the mid-1970s, millimeter wave technology has made great progress, and some better power sources have been developed: solid-state devices such as avalanche tubes (see avalanche diodes) and Gunn oscillators (see electron transfer devices); thermal ion devices such as magnetrons, traveling wave tubes, klystrons, extended interaction oscillators, backward wave tube oscillators and gyrotrons. The avalanche transistor is usually used as the solid-state power source for pulse operation. Its peak power can reach 5-15 W (95 GHz). Magnetron can be used as a high-power pulse power source. Its peak power can reach 1-6 kW (95 gigahertz) or 1 kW (140 gigahertz), and its efficiency is about 10%. Gyrotron is a new type of microwave and millimeter wave oscillator or amplifier, which can provide peak power of megawatt level in millimeter wave band. For low noise mixers, Schottky diode mixers (see crystal diodes, Schottky junctions) have been used in millimeter-wave bands. In the range of 100 gigahertz, the noise temperature of low noise mixers can be as low as 500 K (uncooled) or 100 K (cooled). In addition, technologies such as high gain antennas, integrated circuits and finline waveguides have also been developed. Since the late 1970s, millimeter wave radar has been used in many important civil and military systems, such as short-range high-resolution air defense system, missile guidance system, target measurement system and so on.

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