Abstract

A derivation of the properties of pulsed radiative imaging systems is presented with examples drawn from conventional, synthetic aperture, and interferometric radar. A geometric construction of the space and time components of a radar observation yields a simple underlying structural equivalence among many of the properties of radar, including resolution, range ambiguity, azimuth aliasing, signal strength, speckle, layover, Doppler shifts, obliquity and slant range resolution, finite antenna size, atmospheric delays, and beam- and pulse-limited configurations. The same simple structure is shown to account for many interferometric properties of radar: height resolution, image decorrelation, surface velocity detection, and surface deformation measurement. What emerges is a simple, unified description of the complex phenomena of radar observations. The formulation comes from fundamental physical concepts in relativistic field theory, of which the essential elements are presented. In the terminology of physics, radar properties are projections of hidden variables—curved worldlines from a broken symmetry in Minkowski space–time—onto a time-serial receiver.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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