This thesis presents the development of a high-resolution ground-based 3D-SAR system and investigates its application to microwave-vegetation studies. The development process of the system is detailed including an enumeration of high-level requirements, discussions on key design issues, and detailed descriptions of the system down to a component level. The system operates on a 5.4 GHz (C-band) signal, provides a synthetic aperture area of 1.7 m x 1.7 m, and offers resolution of 0.75 m x 0.3 m x 0.3 m (range x azimuth x elevation). The system is employed on several trees with varying physical characteristics. The resulting imagery demonstrates successful 3D reconstruction of the trees and some of their internal features. The individual leaves and small branches are not visible due to the system resolution and the size of the wavelength. The foliage's outline and internal density distribution is resolved. Large branches are visible where geometry is favorable. Trunks are always visible due to their size and normal-facing incidence surface and their return has the strongest contribution from their base. The imagery is analyzed for dependencies on radar and tree parameters including: incidence angle, signal frequency, polarization, inclusion size, water content, and species. In the current work, a single frequency (5.4 GHz) and polarization (HH) is used which leaves the door open for future analysis to use other frequencies and polarizations. The improved resolution capabilities of the 3D-SAR system enables more precise backscatter measurements leading to a greater understanding of microwave-vegetation scattering behavior.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





microwave remote sensing, synthetic aperture radar, ground-based SAR, three-dimensional imaging, volume imaging, vegetation, trees