In this paper, a quantitative evaluation of the skin impact on mm-wave imaging systems for breast cancer detection is presented. Different scenarios, considering both homogeneous (skin + fat) and heterogeneous (skin + fat + fibro glandular) breast, were evaluated in a frequency range from 26.5 to 40 GHz. To take into account the dielectric and propagation losses, together with the reflection at the interfaces, the simulated results for both planar and full-wave scenarios were compared. All simulations were performed by using the software Ansys HFSS. The link budget was evaluated considering several constraints (i.e., the maximum transmitting power, the noise-floor of the Vector Network Analyzer, the maximum scan time), together with the possible improving factor due to the expected utilization of a multi-static radar configuration in the final system. Results show that a target up to 4 cm in fat under a 2-mm skin is reachable with a standard VNA, while a dedicated electronic is required in presence of fibro-glandular tissue.
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