UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Doppler centroid ambiguity estimation for synthetic aperture radar Kavanagh, Patricia F.


For a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system, the Doppler centroid is the azimuth Doppler frequency received from a point scatterer centered in the azimuth antenna pattern. This parameter is required by the SAR processor in order to properly focus SAR images. Since the azimuth Doppler spectrum is weighted by the azimuth antenna pattern, the Doppler centroid can be determined by locating the peak of the Doppler spectrum. This measurement, however, is ambiguous because the azimuth Doppler spectrum is aliased by the radar pulse repetition frequency (PRF). To resolve the ambiguity, the antenna beam angle, which determines the Doppler centroid, is measured; the accuracy of this measurement must be high enough to determine the Doppler centroid to within ±PRF/2. For some SAR systems, such as the future Radarsat system, the beam angle measurement must be very accurate; this can be technically infeasible or too costly to implement. This thesis examines an alternative approach to resolving the Doppler centroid ambiguity which does not require accurate beam angle measurement In most SAR processors, several partial azimuth aperture "looks" are processed, rather than a single long aperture, in order to yield a final SAR image with reduced speckle noise. If the Doppler centroid is in error by an integer number of PRFs, then the SAR looks will be defocussed and misregistered in range. The degree of misregistration depends on with which Doppler centroid ambiguity the data is processed. The new method for Doppler centroid ambiguity estimation measures the range displacement of SAR looks using a cross-correlation of looks in the range direction. The theoretical background and details of the new method are discussed. The effects of differing terrain types, wave motion, and errors in the azimuth frequency modulation (FM) rate are addressed. The feasibility of the approach is demonstrated by testing the cross-correlation algorithm on available Seasat data processed with simulated Doppler centroid ambiguity errors. The Seasat analysis is extrapolated to the Radarsat system with favourable results.

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