mmWave expertise takes Rohde & Schwarz into security body scanners

August 12, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Readers of these pages will know Rohde & Schwarz for its test and measurement instrumentation (and broadcast/communications product lines, among others). Now, employing that experience in a different direction, the company has won a significant order from the German government for millimetre-wave security body scanners, for use at airports and and other checkpoints.

In July 2016, the Procurement Office of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior signed a framework agreement with Rohde & Schwarz for 300 R&S QPS200 security scanners, over a 3-year period. The instruments can be now be used everywhere that the German Federal Police Force performs security checks. The primary application will be for security at German airports.


The R&S QPS200 becomes the preferred selection for the Federal Police for security checks at airports throughout Germany. The scanners can also be used for security access control in other places, such as in ministries, for example.


Rohde & Schwarz comments that it has successfully entered a new business field with the R&S QPS. The millimeter-wave technology is based on the company's many years of expertise in developing test and measurement equipment. The security scanner automatically detects potentially dangerous objects under clothing or on the body, whether they are rigid, flexible, fluid, metallic or non-metallic. If the scanner reports an alarm, the location of the object is marked on an avatar, a symbolic graphic of the human body.


The scanner employs a fixed array of “thousands of transmitters and receivers” and the design has no moving parts, unlike existing designs in which the subject must remain still while a linear array is rotated around them. It permits an open design which improves visibility and allows wheelchair access, also eliminating the “claustrophobic”, closed-cabinet aspect of prior designs.


R&S notes that there “is no health hazard associated with the R&S QPS transmit power”, (the specification says a power of 1 mW) which is “hundreds or even thousands of times lower than that of a mobile phone”. It operates in the frequency range between 70 GHz and 80 GHz. A scan takes 32 milliseconds to complete. Scanning comfort is also improved since the individual being scanned simply stands in front of the scanner with their arms held slightly away from