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Potential Effects of the Ionosphere on Space-Based SAR Imaging

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3 Author(s)
Zheng-Wen Xu ; Nat. Key Lab. of Electromagn. Environ., China Res. Inst. of Radiowave Propagation, Qingdao ; Jian Wu ; Zhen-Sen Wu

There has been a considerable interest in the use of lower frequency (VHF/UHF) space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for realizing the foliage and ground penetration. The phase perturbation, signal distortion and imaging resolution degradation by the ionosphere will be particularly severe, however the model is not yet well established and still needs to be further studied. In this paper, on the basis of possible improvements for the model proposed by Ishimaru and others, potential ionospheric effects on SAR imaging are evaluated. First, for analyzing azimuthal resolution, we apply the fourth moment recently obtained in general case of strong fluctuation regimes, which is expected to give results for wider conditions. The Gaussian approximation was used in the previous model; however it is only valid in the fully saturated regimes. Second, for analyzing image shift and distortion, besides group delay, the higher-order dispersion is considered. Third, for discussing range resolution degraded due to pulse broadening, besides the dispersion, the multiple scattering of ionospheric turbulence is studied. Fourth, the Faraday rotation effect is analyzed. Numerical simulations are shown using ionospheric turbulence spectrum and TEC inferred from the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) and satellite beacon observations.

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Antennas and Propagation, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 7 )