RADAR AND SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR

BASICS
Dr. Jakob van Zyl
RADAR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING SECTION
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
4800 OAK GROVE DRIVE
PASADENA, CA 91109

OUTLINE
• PRINCIPLES OF IMAGING RADAR
• RADAR INTERFEROMETRY FOR HEIGHT MAPPING
• SIMULTANEOUS ACQUISITION
• REPEAT TRACK
• DIFFERENTIAL INTERFEROMETRY FOR CHANGE DETECTION

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR
HOW DOES RADAR WORK?
TR A NS M I TTE R
R E CE I V E R
C IR CU LATO R
R A DA R P U LS E
"TA R GE T "
• RADAR = Radio Detection And Ranging
• Since radar pulses propagate at the speed of light, the difference to the “target” is proportional
to the time it takes between the transmit event and reception of the radar echo

PRINCIPLES OF IMAGING RADAR
REAL APERTURE RADAR
• Side looking radar to avoid ambiguities
• Range Resolution:
• Azimuth Resolution:
• Swath Width:
Example:
X
r
·
c τ
2 s i nθ
·
c
2 B W s i nθ
X
a
·
h λ
L c o s θ
S ·
h λ
W c o s
2
θ

h · 800 km
λ = 24 cm
BW = 20 MHz
θ = 35
°
¹
)
¹
¹
¹

X
r
·13 m
X
a
· 20. 5 km


RADAR
TRAJECTORY
L
W
RADAR
FOOTPRINT
SWATH
NADIR TRACK
h
RADAR PULSE
cτ ·c / BW
θ
X
a
X
r

PRINCIPLES OF IMAGING RADAR
THE RADAR EQUATION
• The SNR is derived from the radar
equation:

where
Peak transmit power
Antenna gain (one way)
Transmit system loss
Receive system loss
Operating noise figure
Boltzmann’s constant
Noise temperature
Bandwidth
Pulse length
Antenna length
SNR ·
P
t
G
2
(θ)λ
2
(4π)
3
ρ
4
L
t
L
r
F
op
¸
¸

_
,

σ
0
kT
n
B
n
¸
¸

_
,

ρλ
L
a

2sinθ
¸
¸

_
,

P
t
G
P
t
G
4 π ρ
2
P
t
G
4 π ρ
2
σ
0
ρλ
L
c τ
2 s i nθ
P
t
P
t
G
4 π ρ
2
( )
2
σ
0
ρ λ
L
c τ
2 s i nθ
P
t
G
2
λ
2
4π ( )
3
ρ
4
σ
0
ρλ
L
c τ
2 s i nθ
P
t
·
G ·
L
t
·
L
r
·
F
op
·
k ·
T
n
·
B
n
·
τ ·
L
a
·

PRINCIPLES OF IMAGING RADAR
THE RADAR EQUATION
• In order to improve the signal-to-noise ratio for a fixed radar frequency, one has (among
others) the following options:
– Increase the transmitted power. This is usually limited by the power available from
the spacecraft or aircraft.
– Increase the antenna gain. This requires larger antennas, severely affecting the
launch mass and volume.
– Increase the pulse length. This means poorer resolution.
– Decrease bandwidth. This also means poorer resolution.
– Fly lower. Increases atmospheric drag, requiring more fuel for orbit maintenance.
• Signal modulation is a way to increase the radar pulse length without decreasing the radar
range resolution
– All civilian spaceborne SARs, and most civilian airborne SARs use linear FM chirps
as the modulation scheme.

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR
Because the radar is moving relative to the target,
the received signal will be shifted in frequency
relative to the transmitted frequency by an amount
Targets ahead of the radar will have positive
Doppler shifts, and those behind the radar have
negative Doppler shifts.
• Range Resolution:
• Azimuth Resolution
• Swath Width:
f
d
·
2v
λ
sinφ
X
r
·
c
2 B Ws i nθ
X
a
·
v
2 f
DM
·
L
2
S ·
h λ
W c o s
2
θ
f
d
+f
DM
-f
DM
time
TARGET
L
φ
v
BOTH RANGE AND AZIMUTH RESOLUTIONS ARE INDEPENDENT OF DISTANCE TO TARGET!

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
SAR IMAGING COORDINATE SYSTEM
RADAR
FLIGHT
TRAJECTORY
NADIR
FLIGHT
TRACK
CONSTANT DISTANCE LINES
ILLUMINATED AREA
CONSTANT DOPPLER LINES

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
POINT TARGET RESPONSE
• The radar system transmits a series of chirp
pulses:
• The target will be in view of the radar
antenna for a limited time period. During this
period, the distance to the target is
• Usually, so that
W t ( ) · A t ( )exp i2π f
c
t + Bt
2

( ) [ ]
A t ( ) ·
1 for nT −τ 2 < t < nT +τ 2
0 otherwise
¹
'
¹
r t ()· r
0
2
+v
2
t
2
· h
2
+D
2
+v
2
t
2
vt <<r
0
r t ()≈r
0
+v
2
t
2
2r
0
Point
Target
Radar
vt
r
0
h
D
r t ( )
Geometry

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
POINT TARGET RESPONSE
• The phase of the returned signal is
• The instantaneous frequency of the
transmitted wave is
• This signal has a bandwidth of B
centered around f
c
φ t ( ) ·

λ
2r t ( )
f t ( ) · f
c
+
B
τ
t −τ 2 < t < τ 2
Azimuth
R
a
n
g
e

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
CORRELATION WITH POINT TARGET RESPONSE
• This signal has an envelope shown on the right
that is centered at r(t) and has a 3 dB width of
• This corresponds to a range resolution of
• The phase of the signal, ignoring the carrier term,
is
• It is this phase term that provide the
interferometric and polarimetric information
δξ ·
1
B
δr ·
c
2B
φ ξ ( ) ·
4πr ξ ( )
λ
πBξ−2rξ ( )c ( )

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
RANGE-DOPPLER PROCESSING
• The phase of the range compressed signal is
• The last approximation on the right is valid when the antenna beamwidth is very narrow,
and is usually a good approximation for most higher frequency airborne SAR systems
• The expression above is that of a chirp signal with a bandwidth of where
T is half the time that the target is in the field of view of the antenna
• Note that the bandwidth of the azimuth chirp is a function of the range to the target.
• The range-Doppler processing algorithm uses this fact to first perform matched filter range
compression, followed by matched filter azimuth compression
φ ξ ( )·
4πr ξ ( )
λ
·

λ
r
0
2
+v
2
ξ
2


λ
r
0
+

λr
0
v
2
ξ
2
′ B ·2v
2
Tλr
0

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
RANGE-DOPPLER PROCESSING
Raw SAR Data Range Compressed Data SAR Image
∗ ∗
Range Compression
Azimuth Compression

PRINCIPLES OF RADAR IMAGING
CLASSICAL SAR PROCESSING GEOMETRY
insert sphere
Range Sphere
Doppler Cone
Velocity
Vector
Assumed Reference
Plane
Scatterer is assumed at the intersection of Range
Sphere, Doppler Cone and Reference Plane
Aircraft
Position

PRINCIPLES OF IMAGING RADAR
SAR IMAGE PROJECTION
A three-dimensional image is projected
onto a two-dimensional plane, causing
characteristic image distortions:
• b’ appears closer than a’ in radar image
⇒ LAYOVER
• d’ and e’ are closer together in radar
image
⇒ FORESHORTENING
• h to i not illuminated by the radar
⇒ RADAR SHADOW
a c d f g i
b
e
b’
a’
c’
d’
e’
g’
h’
i’
f’
RADAR
IMAGE PLANE

PRINCIPLES OF IMAGING RADAR
AZIMUTH AMBIGUITIES
Reference: Synthetic Aperture Radar Systems & Signal
Processing, by Curlander and McDonough, Wiley, 1991

PRINCIPLES OF IMAGING RADAR
RANGE AMBIGUITIES
Reference: Synthetic Aperture Radar Systems & Signal
Processing, by Curlander and McDonough, Wiley, 1991

TYPES OF IMAGING RADARS
Spatial Information
Imaging Radar
S
p
a
t
i
a
l

I
n
f
o
r
m
a
t
i
o
n
I
m
a
g
i
n
g

R
a
d
a
r
S
p
a
t
i
a
l

I
n
f
o
r
m
a
t
i
o
n
I
m
a
g
i
n
g

R
a
d
a
r
E
le
v
a
tio
n
In
fo
r
m
a
tio
n
In
te
r
fe
r
o
m
e
te
r
Spectral Information
Spectrometers
S
t
r
u
c
t
u
r
a
l

I
n
f
o
r
m
a
t
i
o
n
P
o
l
a
r
i
m
e
t
e
r
Imaging Radar
Spectrometer
I
m
a
g
i
n
g

R
a
d
a
r
I
n
t
e
r
f
e
r
o
m
e
t
e
r
Im
a
g
in
g
R
a
d
a
r
S
p
e
c
tro
m
e
te
r
I
m
a
g
i
n
g

R
a
d
a
r
P
o
l
a
r
i
m
e
t
e
r
I
m
a
g
i
n
g

R
a
d
a
r
P
o
l
a
r
i
m
e
t
e
r
I
m
a
g
i
n
g

R
a
d
a
r
I
n
t
e
r
f
e
r
o
m
e
t
e
r
M
u
l
t
i
-
f
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
P
o
l
a
r
i
m
e
t
e
r
M
u
l
t
i
-
f
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
I
n
t
e
r
f
e
r
o
m
e
t
e
r
Multi-frequency
Imaging Radar
Multi-frequency
Imaging Polarimeter
Imaging
Polarimetric
Interferometer
Multi-frequency
Imaging Interferometer
Multi-frequency
Imaging Polarimetric
Interferometer

• Transverse electromagnetic waves are characterized mathematically as 2-dimensional
complex vectors. When a scatterer is illuminated by an electromagnetic wave, electrical
currents are generated inside the scatterer. These currents give rise to the scattered waves
that are reradiated.
• Mathematically, the scatterer can be characterized by a 2x2 complex scattering matrix that
describes how the scatterer transforms the incident vector into the scattered vector.
• The elements of the scattering matrix are functions of frequency and the scattering and
illuminating geometries.
SAR POLARIMETRY
SCATTERER AS POLARIZATION TRANSFORMER
INCIDENT WAVE
SCATTERER
SCATTERED WAVES

SCATTERING MATRIX
• Far-field response from scatterer is fully characterized by four complex numbers
• Scattering matrix is also known as Sinclair matrix or Jones matrix
• Must measure a scattering matrix for every frequency and all incidence angles
E
h
E
v
¸
¸

_
,
sc
·
S
hh
S
hv
S
vh
S
vv
¸
¸

_
,
E
h
E
v
¸
¸

_
,
inc

POLARIMETER IMPLEMENTATION
TIMING
Transmission:
Horizontal
Vertical
Reception:
Horizontal
Vertical
HH HH HH
HV HV
VH VV VH VV VH
Transmitter
Receiver
Receiver
BLOCK DIAGRAM
Horizontal
Vertical

POLARIZATION SIGNATURE
• The polarization signature (also known as the polarization response) is a convenient
graphical way to display the received power as a function of polarization.
• Usually displayed assuming identical transmit and receive polarizations (co-polarized) or
orthogonal transmit and receive polarizations (cross-polarized).

OBSERVED POLARIZATION SIGNATURES:
SAN FRANCISCO

OBSERVED POLARIZATION SIGNATURES
L-BAND POLARIZATION SIGNATURES OF THE OCEAN

RADAR INTERFEROMETRY
HOW DOES IT WORK?
RADAR
Return could be
from anywhere
on this circle
B
A1
A2
Antenna 1
Antenna 2
Return comes from
intersection
SINGLE ANTENNA SAR INTERFEROMETRIC SAR

RADAR INTERFEROMETRY
HOW IS IT DONE?
B
B
SIMULTANEOUS BASELINE
Two radars acquire data at
the same time
REPEAT TRACK
Two radars acquire data from different
vantage points at different times

RADAR INTERFEROMETRY
COMPARISON OF TECHNIQUES
IMPLEMENTATION ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Simultaneous Baseline • Known baseline • Difficult to get adequate
baseline in space
• No temporal decorrelation • High data rate from two
radars
• Typically better performance • Typically higher cost
Repeat Track • Lower data rate from one
radar
• Temporal decorrelation
• Lower cost • Baseline not well known and
may be changing
• Depending on orbit, any
baseline can be realized

RADAR INTERFEROMETRY
TRIGONOMETRY
• Radar phases:
• Since is measured, can be calculated:
• From the geometry:
• Using the law of cosines, and the previous
expressions, one finds:
φ
1
·

λ
ρ; φ
2
·

λ
2ρ + δρ ( )
⇒∆φ ·

λ
δρ
∆φ δρ
δ ρ ·
λ ∆ φ
2 π
z(y) · h−ρcosθ
z( y) · h −
1
2
λ∆φ

¸
¸
_
,
2
− B
2
Bs i n α − θ ( ) −
λ∆φ

¸
¸
_
,
¹
'
¹
¹
¹
¹
)
¹
¹
¹
cosθ
SIMULTANEOUS BASELINE
α
A
2
B
z
A
1
θ
δ + δρ
ρ
h
Z(y)
y

INTERFEROMETRIC SAR PROCESSING GEOMETRY
insert sphere
Range Sphere
Doppler Cone
Velocity
Vector
Phase Cone
Aircraft
Position
Baseline
Vector
Scatterer is at intersection of Range
Sphere, Doppler Cone and Phase
Cone

RADAR INTERFEROMETRY
PHASE UNWRAPPING
z
y
ACTUAL ELEVATION PROFILE
y
Phase
0

WRAPPED PHASE
y
Phase
0




UNWRAPPED PHASE
⇒ ⇒

RADAR INTERFEROMETRY
HEIGHT ERROR SOURCES
Differ entiate the height expr essions to find the
sensitivity with r espect to er r or sour ces:
• Phase Er r or s:
• Attitude Er r or s:
σ
z
·
λ ρ
2 π B
s i n θ
c o s(α − θ )
σ
∆φ
σ
z
· ρsinθσ
α
(Reference: Zebker, et al., IEEE GRS 32, p.825, 1994)

DIFFERENTIAL INTERFEROMETRY
HOW DOES IT WORK?
• THREE-PASS REPEAT TRACK:
• Two different baselines:
• Incidence angle the same
• Absolute range the same
• Use parallel ray approximation to show that
if nothing changed,
(B
1

1
); (B
2

2
)
∆ φ
2
− ∆ φ
1
B
2
s i n( α
2
− θ )
B
1
s i n( α
1
− θ )
¸
¸

_
,

· 0
B2
B1
α1
α2

DIFFERENTIAL INTERFEROMETRY
ERROR SOURCES
• Uncompensated differential motion
• Atmospheric effects
• Temporal decorrelation
• Layover

EMERGING SAR TECHNIQUES
POLARIMETRIC INTERFEROMETRY
• Polarimetric interferometry is implemented by measuring the full scattering matrix at each
end of the interferometric baseline
• Currently there are no single baseline systems that can acquire this type of data
• During the last three days of the second SIR-C/X-SAR mission the system was operated
in the repeat-pass interferometric mode, and some fully polarimetric interferometric data
were acquired
• Using the full scattering matrix one can now solve for the optimum polarization to
maximize the interferometric coherence
• This problem was first analyzed and reported by Cloude and Papathanassiou
• Using interferograms acquired with different polarization combinations, one can also for
vector differential interferograms
• These vector differential interferograms have been shown to measure large elevation
differences in forested areas, and cm-level elevation differences in agricultural fields

EMERGING SAR TECHNIQUES
POLARIMETRIC INTERFEROMETRY: COHERENCE
• Given two complex radar images, the coherence is defined as
• When the full scattering matrix is measured, the generalized coherence can be written as
• To optimize the coherence, one has to solve this expression for the two complex vectors
γ ·
s
1
s
2
*
s
1
s
1
*
s
2
s
2
*

γ ·
r
w
1
* T

1 2
[ ]
r
w
2
r
w
1
* T
Σ
1 1
[ ]
r
w
1 ( )
r
w
2
* T
Σ
2 2
[ ]
r
w
2 ( )

r
w
1
and
r
w
2

EMERGING SAR TECHNIQUES
VECTOR DIFFERENTIAL INTERFEROMETRY
• The vector differential interferometric phase is

φ
diff
· arg
r
w
1
*T

12
[ ]
r
w
1
( )
r
w
1
*T

12
[ ]
r
w
2
( )
*
{ }

EMERGING SAR TECHNIQUES
TOPOGRAPHY FROM POLARIMETRY
• A technique to infer topography from polarimetric signatures is under development by a
group led by Schuler at the Naval Research Laboratories in the USA
• This technique is based on the fact that if a surface is tilted in the azimuth direction, one
observes a shift in the maximum of the polarization signature
• The scattering matrix of a slightly rough surface tilted by an angle α with respect to the
horizontal is
S α ( )
[ ]
·
cosα sinα
−sinα cosα

¸

1
]
1
a 0
0 b

¸

1
]
1
cosα −sinα
sinα cosα

¸

1
]
1
S α ( )
[ ]
·
a cos
2
α + bsin
2
α b − a ( )sinαcosα
b − a ( )sinα cosα bcos
2
α + asin
2
α

¸

1
]
1

EMERGING SAR TECHNIQUES
POLARIZATION SIGNATURE OF A TILTED SURFACE
Flat Surface Tilted Surface
O
R
IE
N
T
A
T
IO
N
A
N
G
L
E
O
R
IE
N
T
A
T
IO
N
A
N
G
L
E
E
L
L
IP
T
IC
IT
Y
A
N
G
L
E
E
L
L
IP
T
IC
IT
Y
A
N
G
L
E

EMERGING SAR TECHNIQUES
TOPOGRAPHY FROM POLARIMETRY
• By measuring the shift in the maximum of the polarization signature, the tilt of the surface
in the azimuth direction can be estimated.
• In vegetated areas, P-Band data are used since a tilted surface will show a similar behavior
if the trunk-ground interaction term is relatively strong
• The accuracy with which one can measure the surface tilt is determined by the signal to
noise ratio
• Once the surface tilts (surface slopes) are known, the slopes are integrated in the azimuth
direction to find the topography as a series of azimuth profiles
• Ground control points are needed to find the correct absolute height, and to tie different
azimuth profiles together
• By using data acquired in a crossing flight pattern, the topography can be derived
requiring only a single ground control point
• While the accuracy of this technique is not as good as that of interferometry, crude digital
elevation maps can be produced.

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