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A novel phase unwrapping method based on network programming

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1 Author(s)
Costantini, M. ; Eur. Space Agency, Frascati, Italy

Phase unwrapping is the reconstruction of a function on a grid given its values mod 2π. Phase unwrapping is a key problem in all quantitative applications of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry, but also in other fields. A new phase unwrapping method, which is a different approach from existing techniques, is described and tested. The method starts from the fact that the phase differences of neighboring pixels can be estimated with a potential error that is an integer multiple of 2π. This suggests the formulation of the phase unwrapping problem as a global minimization problem with integer variables. Recognizing the network structure underlying the problem makes for an efficient solution. In fact, it is possible to equate the phase unwrapping problem to the problem of finding the minimum cost flow on a network, for the solution of which there exist very efficient techniques. The tests performed on real and simulated interferometric SAR data confirm the validity of the approach

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 3 )