James J. Frey

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

John W. McClory, PhD


A feasibility analysis for the use of microwave-induced thermoacoustic (TA) wave generation in lossy dielectric media to detect pulsed high power microwave directed energy weapons in force health protection applications was conducted based on a series of empirical and computational investigations. A potential target volume material, carbon-loaded polytetrafluoroethylene, was identified for further study based on anticipated complex dielectric properties, with laboratory measurements of select electromagnetic (EM), thermal, and elastic material properties of relevance to the TA effect conducted to determine parameter values. A planar geometry TA-based signal chain model using thin film piezoelectric sensors was developed for both finite element method based numerical simulation and in-beam response testing, with TA signal output evaluated in the time and frequency domain using both approaches. Based on empirically-derived complex permittivity values, a single-term Cole-Cole dielectric relaxation model approximation was developed over the 2-110 GHz microwave frequency region to permit a more general evaluation of EM coupling efficiency of the material. Modeling and simulation of the idealized signal chain allowed the analysis of TA waveform dependency on microwave beam parameters not otherwise accessible during in-beam response testing. High frequency TA signal data was suitably fit to a pulse width sensitivity impulse response function model for the target geometry and found to be in good agreement for personnel exposure applications.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number