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Preliminary Characterization of Microwave Backscattering of Floating Plastic

Martins, R. A. ; Felício, J.F. ; Matos, S.A. ; Costa, J.R. ; Fernandes, C. A.

Preliminary Characterization of Microwave Backscattering of Floating Plastic , Proc Telecoms Conference ConfTELE, Leiria, Portugal, Vol. , pp. 1 - 4, February, 2021.

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Abstract
Microwaves (MW) may offer advantages over
optical techniques for remote monitoring of marine litter.
However, no systematic studies are found in the literature about
microwave sensing of floating plastics. In order to assess the
potential, we carried out two types of experiments and analysis.
In one scenario we measured and characterized the MW
backscatter of different densities of typical plastic bottles and
jerry cans, floating in a small pool of static water. The results
show a significant increase of litter response with litter density,
thus demonstrating that floating plastic affects the MW
backscattering of the water surface. In the second scenario, we
assembled a setup to resemble a synthetic aperture radar
system: a small container filled with water and floating plastic
was linearly translated under a fixed antenna operating in
monostatic mode; we have successfully reconstructed the energy
backscattering map of the target. This preliminary work
demonstrates that floating macro plastics do present a MW
signature that may be relevant for remote monitoring of this
type of marine pollution.