Polarization optimization for the detection of multiple persistent scatterers using SAR tomography

H. Aghababaei*, Giampaolo Ferraioli, A. Stein, Luis Gómez Déniz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The detection of multiple interfering persistent scatterers (PSs) using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) tomography is an efficient tool for generating point clouds of urban areas. In this context, detection methods based upon the polarization information of SAR data are effective at increasing the number of PSs and producing high-density point clouds. This paper presents a comparative study on the effects of the polarization design of a radar antenna on further improving the probability of detecting persistent scatterers. For this purpose, we introduce an extension of the existing scattering property-based generalized likelihood ratio test (GLRT) with realistic dependence on the transmitted/received polarizations. The test is based upon polarization basis optimization by synthesizing all possible polarimetric responses of a given scatterer from its measurements on a linear orthonormal basis. Experiments on both simulated and real data show, by means of objective metrics (probability of detection, false alarm rate, and signal-to-noise ratio), that polarization waveform optimization can provide a significant performance gain in the detection of multiple scatterers compared to the existing full-polarization-based detection method. In particular, the increased density of detected PSs at the studied test sites demonstrates the main contribution of the proposed method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1960
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number9
Early online date19 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • GLRT
  • permanent scatterer
  • polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar
  • polarization synthesizing
  • TomoSAR


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