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The capabilities of current medical devices to detect breast cancer are agreeably insufficient for society’s needs. As such it is desirable for a new more reliable detection system to be fabricated. It has been reported in literature that cancerous tissue in the breast exhibits separate dielectric properties when compared to normal breast tissue at microwave frequencies. This report overviews the design and optimization of a novel microwave antenna which must serve as an element in a sensor array for early-stage breast-cancer detection. Specifically, the sensor detection limits will be ascertained. This includes determining the antenna sensitivity to tissue contrast between the suspect malignant growth and the surrounding healthy tissue in terms of permittivity and conductivity as well as the sensitivity limits in terms of the size of the malignant region and its depth under the skin (i.e., distance from the sensor). A two antenna system in which the antennas were opposing each other and co-polarized was used to determine these sensitivity limits. This set up was analyzed in both frequency domain simulations and experiments, using breast phantoms whose specific fabrication and properties are discussed in the report.

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