With the prevalence of breast cancer among women and the shortcomings of conventional techniques in detecting breast cancer at its early stages, microwave breast imaging has been an active area of research and has gained momentum over the past few years, mainly due to the advantages and improved detection rates it has to offer. To achieve this outcome, specifically designed antennas are needed to satisfy the needs of such systems where an antenna array is typically used. These antennas need to comply with several criteria to make them suitable for such applications, which most importantly include bandwidth, size, design complexity, and cost of manufacturing. Many works in the literature proposed antennas designed to meet these criteria, but no works have classified and evaluated these antennas for the use in microwave breast imaging. This paper presents a comprehensive study of the different array configurations proposed for microwave breast imaging, with a thorough investigation of the antenna elements proposed to be used with these systems, classified per antenna type, and per the improvements that concern the operational bandwidth, the size of the antenna, the radiation characteristics, and the techniques used to achieve the improvement. At the end of the investigation, a qualitative evaluation of the antenna designs is presented, providing a comparison between the investigated antennas, and determining whether a design is suitable or not to be used in antenna arrays for microwave breast imaging, based on the performance of each. An evaluation of the investigated arrays is also presented, where the advantages and limitations of each array configuration are discussed.
Published in IEEE Access.
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