A Tomographic Formulation of Spotlight-Mode Synthetic Aperture Radar

David C. Munson, James Dennis O'brien, W. Kenneth Jenkins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    590 Scopus citations


    Spotlight-mode synthetic aperture radar (spotlight-mode SAR) synthesizes high-resolution terrain maps using data gathered from multiple observation angles. This paper shows that spotlight-mode SAR can be interpreted as a tomographic reconstruction problem and analyzed using the projection-slice theorem from computer-aided tomography (CAT). The signal recorded at each SAR transmission point is modeled as a portion of the Fourier transform of a central projection of the imaged ground area. Reconstruction of a SAR image may then be accomplished using algorithms from CAT. This model permits a simple understanding of SAR imaging, not based on Doppler shifts. Resolution, sampling rates, waveform curvature, the Doppler effect, and other issues are also discussed within the context of this interpretation of SAR.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)917-925
    Number of pages9
    JournalProceedings of the IEEE
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Aug 1983

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • General Computer Science
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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