Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is a type of radar capable of high-resolution coherent imaging. In order to produce coherent imagery from raw SAR data, an image formation algorithm is employed. The various image formation algorithms have strengths and weaknesses. As this work shows, time-domain backprojection is one algorithm whose strengths are particularly well-suited to use at low-altitudes. This work presents novel research in three areas regarding time-domain backprojection. The first key contribution of this work is a detailed analysis of SAR time-domain backprojection. The work derives a general form of backprojection from first principles. It characterizes the sensitivities of backprojection to the various inputs as well as error sources and performance characteristics. This work then shows what situations are particularly well-suited to use of the backprojection algorithm, namely regimes with turbulent motion and wide variation in incidence angle across the range swath (e.g., low-altitude, airborne SAR).The second contribution of this work is an analysis of geometric signal correlation for multi-static, sometimes termed multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), imaging. Multi-static imaging involves forming multiple images using different combinations of transmitters and receivers. Geometric correlation is a measure of how alike observations of a target are from different aspect angles. This work provides a novel model for geometric correlation which may be used to determine the degree to which multi-static images are correlated. This in turn determines their applicable use: operating in the highly correlated regime is desirable for coherent processing whereas operating in a lower-correlation regime is desirable for obtaining independent looks. The final contribution of this work is a novel algorithm for interferometry based on backprojected data. Because of the way backprojected images are formed, they are less suited to traditional interferometric methods. This work derives backprojection interferometry and compares it to the traditional method of interferometry. The sensitivity and performance of backprojection interferometry are shown, as well as where backprojection interferometry offers superior results. This work finds that backprojection interferometry performs better with longer interferometric baseline lengths or systems with large measurement error in the baseline length or angle (e.g., low-altitude, airborne SAR).



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





synthetic aperture radar, backprojection, interferometry, geometric correlation