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This paper focuses on polar decomposition, which is based on the quaternion formalism, in single-look and multilook synthetic aperture radar polarimetry. Polar decomposition is used to decompose a bistatic or monostatic polarimetric scattering matrix into a product of a Hermitian matrix (boost) and a unitary matrix (rotation). After an overview of polar decomposition principle and quaternion properties, coherent (single-look complex) and incoherent (multilook) polar decompositions are discussed. In single-look polar decomposition, we introduce the boost parameter and the rotation parameter with the purpose of classifying scattering mechanisms of different natures. New relationships between these geometrical parameters and the scattering matrix elements are obtained. We also briefly reexamine the standard coherent polarimetric target decomposition algorithms in the light of quaternions. Next, an original use of polar decomposition for incoherent polarimetric imaging is proposed, which leads to the definition of the multilook boost parameter and of the degree of polarization dispersion. Subsequently, a new approach is presented, which consists in decomposing the scattering matrix into boost and rotation components before vectorization, then in averaging to generate boost and rotation coherency matrices separately. This leads to new inferred parameters: the boost and rotation entropies, and the concurrent dominant scattering mechanisms. The link between these new parameters and standard polarimetric invariants from the Cloude and Pottier decomposition is discussed. Eventually, the multilook extension of polar decomposition may allow this to be applied to the classification of remote sensing data. In this framework, a set of five parameters reducing to four in the monostatic case can be considered.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:45 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2007