OSU researcher invents stealth radar

Published 27 June 2006

Stealth technology was meant to conceal objects such as planes from being detected by radar; but what if you want to conceal the radar beam itself? A Buckeye researcher invents a method allowing for objects to be beamed without the radar beam being detected; the technology is also useful in finding people buried under rubble — and, in the future, tumors and porous bones in the human body

Stealth plane design was invented to prevent enemy radar from detecting U.S. fighters or bombers going about their mission over enemy territory. What if you want to conceal the radar signal itself, though? Ohio State University researchers have invented what we may call stealth radar — a radar system which is virtually undetectable because its signal resembles random noise. The radar will have applications in law enforcement, the military, and disaster rescue. Senior research scientist Eric Walton of OSU’s ElectroScience Laboratory explained why using random noise makes the radar system invisible. “Almost all radio receivers in the world are designed to eliminate random noise so that they can clearly receive the signal they’re looking for,” he said. “Radio receivers could search for this radar signal and they wouldn’t find it. It also won’t interfere with TV, radio, or other communication signals.”

The radar’s signal does not interfere with other transmissions because it has a bandwidth thousands of times broader than other signals. The hardware is not expensive, either; altogether the components cost less than $100. The radar can be tuned to penetrate solid walls — as do radio and TV waves — so the military could spot enemy soldiers inside a building.

The university is expected to license the patented radar system.