Measuring the Electromagnetic Properties of Structures with Visible Light

Case ID:

Researchers at the University of Arizona have demonstrated a modeling system for measuring the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of structural models using visible wavelengths of light.  This makes it possible to use very small scale models of very large objects, and accurately determine the RCS in a reasonable time frame.



RCS is the measure of a target's ability to reflect radar signals in the direction of the radar receiver, measured as the ratio of backscatter power per steradian (unit solid angle) in the direction of the radar (from the target) to the power density that is intercepted by the target.  For a fully reflecting system, the RCS is the same cross-sectional size as the physical size.  For a "stealth" object, the RCS is much smaller than the physical size.  To understand what a very large object's RCS will be when it is fully built out, models are used that are smaller than the real object, and are interrogated with electromagnetic waves that are much shorter than radio waves.  Even so, the models are still large and existing methods for measuring RCS can be very expensive or impractical for measuring structures like large ships or aircraft.



  • Rapid RCS modeling of large complex objects
  • Aircraft, ships, spacecraft



  • Fast turnaround
  • Inexpensive, yet accurate

Status: issued U.S. Patent #10,782,401

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Pierre Blanche