Feasibility study of surface motion tracking with millimeter wave technology during radiotherapy

Joshua Olick-Gibson, Bin Cai, Shuang Zhou, Sasa Mutic, Paul Carter, Geoff Hugo, Tiezhi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Continuous monitoring of patient movement is crucial to administering safe radiation therapy (RT). Conventional optical approaches often cannot be used when the patient’s surface is blocked by immobilization devices. Millimeter waves (mmWaves) are capable of penetrating nonconductive objects. In this study, we investigated using mmWave technology to monitor patient surface displacements, as well as breathing and cardiac phases, through clothing and body fixtures. Methods: A mmWave device was mounted inside the bore of a ring-based radiotherapy linear accelerator and pointed at a reflective surface on top of the couch. Measurements were obtained at displacements of 10, 7.5, 5.0, 2.5, and 1.0 mm at heights 100, 150, and 200 mm below isocenter. Submillimeter displacements were performed at a height of 200 mm. Additionally, millimeter and submillimeter displacements were measured with and without a gown and body mold placed between the surface and the sensor. The device was programmed to transmit chirp signals at 77–81 GHz. The subject’s surface was detected by fast Fourier transform (FFT) of the reflected chirp signal within a rough range bin. Fine displacements within that range bin were calculated through phase extraction and phase demodulation. The displacement data were sent through two separate bandpass filters with passbands of 0.1–0.6 and 0.8–2.0 Hz to obtain the subject’s breathing and cardiac waveforms, respectively. The breathing and cardiac measurements were compared to those of a Vernier Respiration Monitor Belt and an electrocardiogram (EKG), respectively, to assess validity. Results: The device was able to detect millimeter and submillimeter displacements as small as 0.1 mm, as well as monitor displacement with an accuracy within 1 mm in the presence of an obstructive object. The device's breathing and cardiac waveforms exhibited a strong phase correlation between the respiration monitor belt (ρ = 0.9156) and EKG (ρ = 0.7895), respectively. Conclusions: The mmWave device can monitor surface displacements with an accuracy better than 0.1 mm without obstructions and better than 1 mm with obstructions. It can also provide real-time monitoring of breathing and cardiac waveforms simultaneously with high correlation with traditional respiratory and cardiac monitoring devices. Overall, mmWave technology demonstrates potential for motion monitoring in the field of radiation oncology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1237
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • millimeter wave
  • motion
  • tracking


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