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Acoustooptic correlation processing in random noise radar

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4 Author(s)
Narayanan, R.M. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA, USA ; Wei Zhou ; Wagner, Kelvin H. ; Sangtaek Kim

A new technique has been developed that permits coherent processing of backscatter data acquired by a radar system transmitting ultrawideband (UWB) random noise waveforms and processing the received signals using a heterodyne correlation receiver. This technique has been used in various applications, such as Doppler estimation, polarimetry, interferometry, buried-object detection, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging, inverse SAR (ISAR) imaging, foliage penetration imaging, etc. One of the major advantages of the noise radar system is its inherent immunity to external interference. In such a radar system, the correlation receiver consists of a programmable variable-delay line, a mixer followed by a lowpass filter. One drawback of this type of receiver is that it sequentially processes the target returns, thus limiting the system response time and the dynamic detection range. We have recently integrated a novel heterodyning acoustooptic (AO) time-integrating correlation receiver that uses a traveling-wave AO deflector for wideband signal processing. The transmit waveform modulates the intensity of a laser diode that is multiplied by the traveling-wave modulation produced by the AO deflector, and the correlation is time-integrated on a charge-coupled device photodetector array. The principal advantages of this AO correlation receiver are its ability to generate a large range of variable delays, as well as to perform the signal correlation operation in parallel. Compared to the conventional sequential correlation receiver using a variable stepped delay line and correlator, implementation of the AO variable-delay line and heterodyning correlator can 1) reduce the processing time and greatly increase the processing gain due to the parallel correlation mechanism and 2) greatly increase the number of range cells depending on the number of resolvable spots of the AO deflector. This results in rapid data acquisition, longer integration time on parallel detector pixels (3000 pixels), and improved SNR. It is also shown that this radar has more range gates (up to 1000), which ultimately improves the detectable range resolution. Furthermore, several field experiments performed with different target arrangements demonstrate that the acoustooptic variable-delay line and c- orrelator is able to profile various targets instantaneously and with very high SNR.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, IEEE  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 3 )