LIAG / Research / Methods / Electromagnetic methods / Ground-penetrating radar 

Ground-penetrating radar

The research field GPR uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to image structures and to determine parameters of the subsurface. Targets are, e.g., groundwater and sediment systems, land mines or achaeological structures.

The research field GPR includes the advancement of GPR on the surface and in boreholes, as well as with additional laboratory studies. Issues from the fields of sedimentology, pedology, agriculture, detection of explosive ordnances and landmines, groundwater exploration as well as mass transfer in the unsaturated zone of the ground are explored. Hereby this research field also contributes to the topical research fields groundwater systems and terrestrial sediment systems. The overall goal is to better resolve 3D structures, e.g. to image sediment structures or small scale soil or aquifer heterogeneities. In the future, a greater focus shall be put on assessing dynamic processes like the ones that govern the transition zone between the groundwater table and unsaturated zone. The goal hereby is to derive hydraulic properties of the subsurface and thereby better understand and predict the nutrient and contaminant input in the groundwater as well as the gas exchange between the groundwater and the atmosphere. GPR very well complements with the remaining two geophysical methods in the section, e.g. by providing useful information on the subsurface structure for the inversion of geoelectrics and NMR data. The systematic study of high-frequency electromagnetic properties of soils serves to generate a broad database for electromagnetic simulations, as well as to describe the relationships between the electromagnetic properties and the pedological/hydraulic properties, e.g. to describe a soils water-retention and thereby improves the quantitative interpretation of GPR data.

Current projects

  • HOPE
    Investigation of faults in New Zeeland
  • Counter IED 3
    Generation of synthetic sample data for the detection of explosive ordnances with GPR
  • KiSNeT
    Königshafen Submarine Groundwater Discharge Network
  • Dielectric spectroscopy
    Characterization of high-frequency electrogmagnetic properties of soils and sediments
  • Guided GPR waves
    Technical-methodological development of a method for high-resolution imaging the GPR velocity and water content distribution of the upper soil layer

Finished projects

    Structurally constrained inversion of NMR and ERT data using GPR reflectors
  • Soil-moisture
    Soil-moisture monitoring of test sites
  • Counter IED 1 & 2
    Development of a soil assessment system method for GPR sensors in the frame of search IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices)
  • Humanitarian Demining
    Soil influences on sensor-based land mine detection
  • Subrosion (EM)
    Investigation of karst and subrosion structures by electromagnetic methods

Selected Publications

  • STADLER, S. & IGEL, J. (2022): Developing Realistic FDTD GPR Antenna Surrogates by Means of Particle Swarm Optimization. - IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation.
  • JIANG, C., IGEL, J., DLUGOSCH, R., MÜLLER-PETKE, M., GÜNTHER, T., HELMS, J., LANG, J. & WINSEMANN, J. (2020): Magnetic resonance tomography constrained by ground-penetrating radar for improved hydrogeophysical characterisation.- Geophysics 85(6), JM13-JM26.
  • TANNER, D.C., BUNESS, H., IGEL, J., GÜNTHER, T., GABRIEL, G., SKIBA, P., PLENEFISCH, T., GESTEMANN, N. & WALTER, T. (2019): Chapter 3: Fault detection. - In: Understanding faults - Detecting, Dating, and Modeling, Tanner, D. & Brandes, C. (ed.), p. 81-146,
  • BRANDES, C., IGEL, J., LOEWER, M., TANNER, D., LANG, J., MÜLLER, K. & WINSEMANN, J. (2018): Visualisation and analysis of shear-deformation bands in unconsolidated Pleistocene sands using ground-penetrating radar. - Sedimentary Geology, 367, 135-145,
  • LOEWER, M., GÜNTHER, T., IGEL, J., KRUSCHWITZ, S., MARTIN, T. & WAGNER, N. (2017): Ultra-broadband electrical spectroscopy of soils and sediments - A combined permittivity and conductivity model. - Geophysical Journal International, 210, 1360-137,
  • LANG, J., SIEVERS, J., LOEWER, M., IGEL, J. & WINSEMANN, J. (2017): 3D architecture of cyclic-step and antidune deposits in subaqueous fan and delta settings: Integrating outcrop and ground-penetrating radar data. - Sedimentary Geology, 362, 83-100,
  • LOEWER, M., IGEL, J. & WAGNER, N. (2016): Spectral Decomposition of Soil Electrical and Dielectric Losses and Prediction of In Situ GPR Performance. - IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 9 (1): 212-220,
  • TAKAHASHI, K., IGEL, J., PREETZ, H. & SATO, M. (2014): Influence of Heterogeneous Soils and Clutter on the Performance of Ground-Penetrating Radar for Landmine Detection. - IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 52,6, 3464-3472,
  • IGEL, J., GÜNTHER, T. & KUNTZER, M. (2013): Ground-penetrating radar insight into a coastal aquifer: the freshwater lens of Borkum Island. - Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17, 519-531.


Dr. Jan Igel
 +49 511 643-2770


Sam Stadler

Stephan Schennen

Dr. Thomas Günther

Dieter Epping

Vitali Kipke

Robert Meyer


Holger Preetz

Kazunori Takahashi

Markus Loewer

Moritz Kuntzer

Cynthia Minnich

Marion Miensopust