Date of Award:

Spring 2014

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Jacob H. Gunther

Abstract

The use of radar often conjures up images of small blobs on a screen. But current synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems are able to generate near-optical quality images with amazing benefits compared to optical sensors. These SAR sensors work in all weather conditions, day or night, and provide many advanced capabilities to detect and identify targets of interest. These amazing abilities have made SAR sensors a work-horse in remote sensing, and military applications. SAR sensors are ranging instruments that operate in a 3D environment, but unfortunately the results and interpretation of SAR images have traditionally been done in 2D. Three-dimensional SAR images could provide improved target detection and identification along with improved scene interpretability. As technology has increased, particularly regarding our ability to solve difficult optimization problems, the 3D SAR reconstruction problem has gathered more interest. This dissertation provides the SAR and mathematical background required to pose a SAR 3D reconstruction problem. The problem is posed in a way that allows prior knowledge about the target of interest to be integrated into the optimization problem when known. The developed model is demonstrated on simulated data initially in order to illustrate critical concepts in the development. Then once comprehension is achieved the processing is applied to actual SAR data. The 3D results are contrasted against the current gold- standard. The results are shown as 3D images demonstrating the improvement regarding scene interpretability that this approach provides.

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