A radar range finder and hidden object locator is based on ultra-wide band radar with a high resolution swept range gate. The device generates an equivalent time amplitude scan with atypical range of 4 inches to 20 feet, and an analog range resolution as limited by a jitter of on the order of 0.01 inches. A differential sampling receiver is employed to effectively eliminate ringing and other aberrations induced in the receiver by the near proximity of the transmit antenna, so a background subtraction is not needed, simplifying the circuitry while improving performance. Uses of the invention include a replacement of ultrasound devices for fluid level sensing, automotive radar, such as cruise control and parking assistance, hidden object location, such as stud and rebar finding. Also, this technology can be used when positioned over a highway lane to collect vehicle count and speed data for traffic control. Techniques are used to reduce clutter in the receive signal, such as decoupling the receive and transmit cavities by placing a space between them, using conductive or radiative damping elements on the cavities, and using terminating plates on the sides of the openings.
The United States government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract Number W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.