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Michael C. Wicks

First Name: 
Michael C.
Last Name: 
Contact Information

Michael C. Wicks, Ph.D.
Endowed Chair
Ohio Scholar for Sensor Exploitation and Fusion
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Dayton Distinguished Research Scientist University of Dayton Research Institute
300 College Park Dayton, OH 45469
Senior Scientist US Air Force (retired)

Talk Title: Distributed Sensing and Radio Frequency Tomography

Topics/Keywords: Radio Frequency, Remote and Close-In Sensing, Tomography, Spatial and Spectral Diversity, Congested Spectrum Environments, Signal and Image Processing


Many applications require imaging, shape reconstruction and material characterization of objects in the presence of interference, including concealed weapons  through the wall sensing, below ground imaging, foliage penetration, and quality control in autonomous manufacturing. Recent advances in computational science and radio frequency (RF) technology improve the potential for successful applications of RF Tomography (RFT) to these challenging problems. RFT systems are supported by a variety of technologies, but they all share one common feature in that they all require viewing of the environment from a variety of angles or geometric diversity of illumination and observation. For applications where sensing occurs using electromagnetic waves, the most common is radar. Classical imaging systems employ a single aperture that is moved to form a synthetic aperture. However, numerous simultaneous fixed or moving apertures may be used. RFT typically employs a distributed system of low-cost, reconfigurable electromagnetic transmit and receive antennas placed somewhat arbitrarily around a region of interest. RFT transmitters radiate known waveforms, but sources of opportunity may also be exploited, while spatially distributed receivers sample scattered fields and relay this information to a central processor. The distinctive attribute of RFT is high resolution: sub-wavelength, range-independent, bandwidth-independent, resolution which is a function of the carrier frequency. This tutorial will present the principles of RFT, and the relationship between classical electromagnetics, signal processing, and applications specific phenomenology. This tutorial will include results from our most recent experiments in ground penetrating radar, and trends with many different applications such as the geolocation of passive RF tags in spectrally congested environments. 

Topic/Key Words: Radio Frequency, Remote and Close-In Sensing, Tomography, Spatial and Spectral Diversity, Congested Spectrum Environments, Signal and Image Processing

Target audience: Junior and mid-career radar, remote sensing, and signal processing scientist and engineers, as well as senior scientist and engineers with an interest in Distributed Sensors and RF Tomography systems.

Learning outcomes:

An understanding of the benefits and limitations to Distributed Sensors and RF Tomography systems, even as commercial communications (wireless) and computing technology makes said systems affordable and an effective alternative to classical approaches to solving close-in sensing problems.

Prior events where this topic has been presented:

2016 IEEE SysCon Orlando FL, 2015 IEEE Radar Conference Washington DC, 2015 IEEE Radar Conference South Africa, 2015 IEEE NAECON Conference Dayton OH, IEEE Sensors 2014 Valencia Spain

Other speaking experience of applicant (if you spoken extensively, a short list of most recent engagements will be sufficient)

Keynote speaker 2015 IEEE NAECon in Dayton OH, Banquet speaker 2014 IEEE NAECon in Dayton OH, 2014 NATO Specialist meeting on Waveform Diversity in Berlin Germany, 2014 Radar Week invited lecturer at Ecole National Polytechnique 

Geographical preferences/constraints (Please note countries/regions where you would be willing to travel): None


Relevant Experience
Dr. Wicks is a leading research scientist in remote sensing, signal processing and systems engineering, with a current focus on distributed sensing and radio frequency technology. He has pursued a variety of research interests in his career, including: radio frequency tomographic radar, counter explosive sensor technology, cognitive radar and radio, space object sensing, missile defense, deep earth probing radar, multi-dimensional adaptive processing for airborne and space based radar, ultra-wideband radio and radar, passive and active multi-static systems, and concealed weapons / contraband detection and carrier identification. He pioneered the concept of knowledge-based signal processing and waveform diversity, and has led national and international research teams on the design, development and fielding of novel algorithms, architectures and systems for remote sensing from space, air and surface platforms.

Recent Research
Research is currently focused on spatially and spectrally diverse sensing for the automatic detection, track, identification, and feature exploitation of obscured objects. The design and analysis of distributed radar for exoatmospheric surveillance is complimented by analysis and experiments for side-looking imaging and surface moving target indication radar. Recent research has resulted in the development of a mobile waveform diverse distributed MIMO radar system and a radio frequency tomography test bed at the University of Dayton. Research on integrated close-in sensing and long range wide area surveillance radar is addressing feature extraction, in addition to detection processing and track formation. Algorithms and architectures for the numerical and symbolic (heuristic) processing of sensor data is a primary focus of this research.
Dr. Wicks has published many papers, reports, book chapters, books and
US patents.

Professional Positions
United States Air Force
1981-2011 Research Scientist
University College London
2004-2009 Adjunct Professor School of Engineering
Cranfield University
2006-2011 Adjunct Professor Defence College of Management and
University of Dayton
2011- Distinguished Research Scientist at UDRI
2012- Ohio Scholar for Sensor Exploitation and Fusion
Wright State University
2012- Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering Education
AS MVCC, Utica NY 1979
BSEE Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 1981
MSEE Syracuse University, Syracuse NY 1985
PhD Syracuse University 1995
MAPA Maxwell School at Syracuse University 2000
Notable Professional Honors and Awards
o IEEE Nathanson Award to the Young Engineer of the Year, 1998
o IEEE Fellow, 1998
o US Air Force Research Laboratory Fellow, 1999
o Mohawk Valley Engineers Executive Council 1999 Engineer of the Year
o MVCC Alumni of the Year, 2001
o IEEE Warren White Award for Excellence in Radar Engineering, 2009
o IEEE Dennis J Picard Medal for Radar Technologies Applications 2013
Selected Publications
o “Radar Spectrum Engineering and Management: Technical and Regulatory Issues, Proc. IEEE, Vol 103, No. 1, Jan 2015.
o “Software-Defined-Radio-Based Wireless Tomography: Experimental Demonstration and Verification” IEEE Geosci. Remote Sensing Lett. 12 (1): 175-179, Jan 2015.
o “Distributed Sensing and Tomography” IEEE 2014 Internal Sensors Conference, Nov 2014.
o Cognitive Networked Sensing and Big Data, Springer, 2013.

o Cognitive Radio Communications and Networking, John Wiley and Sons, 2012.
o “Imaging Under Irregular Terrain Using RF Tomography,” IEEE Trans. Geosci.Remote Sens., Vol 50, No. 9, Sept 2012.
o “Compressed Statistical Testing and Application to Radar”, 1st International Workshop on Compressed Sensing applied to Radar, CoSeRa 2012, Bonn Germany, 14-16 May 2012.
o Generalized Inner Product Method and Apparatus for Improved Detection and Discrimination, U.S. Patent 7,916,068, March 2011.
o “Pareto-Optimal Radar Waveform Design”, IET Journal of Sonar, Radar, and Navigation, June 2010
o “Radio Frequency Tomography for Tunnel Detection,” IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., Vol. GRS-48, No. 3, pp. 1128-1137, Mar. 2010.
o Sensors Technology and Advanced Signal Processing Concepts for Layered Warfare/Layered Sensing, AFRL-RY-RS-TR-2010-100, April 2010.
o Principles of Waveform Diversity and Design Textbook, July 2010, SciTech Publishing, co-editor.
o “Wide Area Below Ground Imaging via Lateral Wave RF Tomography”, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, June 2009.
o Multi-static Radar Signal Processing – Improved Interference Rejection, Tracking and Discrimination, Army Science Conference Dec 2008
o “Detection Performance using Frequency Diversity with Distributed Sensors”,
o IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, July 2008.
o “Concurrent Extraction of Target Range and Doppler Information by using Orthogonal Coding Waveforms”, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, July 2007.
o “Space-Time Adaptive Processing: A Knowledge-Based Perspective for Airborne Radar”, IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, Special Issue on Knowledge-Based Systems, January 2006.
o “Knowledge-Based Radar Signal and Data Processing”, IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, Special Issue on Knowledge-Based Systems, January 2006.
o “Waveform Diversity for Distributed Aperture Radars – Experimental Verification” Fourth Tri-Service Waveform Diversity Workshop, November 2006.
o “KB-GLRT: exploiting knowledge of the clutter ridge in airborne radar”, IEE Proceedings – Radar, Sonar and Navigation, December 2005
o Smart Antennas, John Wiley & Sons, 2003.
o “Development of a Lower Confidence Limit for the Number of Signals”, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, June 2003.
o “Performance Characterisation of Hybrid STAP Architecture Incorporating Elevation Interferometry”, IEE Proceedings – Radar, Sonar and Navigation, April 2002.
o “Wavelet Applications in Engineering Electromagnetics”, June 15, 2002, Artech House Publishers, Inc., Norwood MA, co-author.
o “Development of a Statistical Procedure for Detecting the Number of Signals in a Radar Measurement”, IEEE Proceedings Radar, Sonar Navigation, April 2001.


Distinguished Lecturer