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High-resolution radar system modeling with MATLAB/SIMULINK


Modeling novel types of imaging radar systems is a robust and inexpensive way to gauge the systems expected performance and create a proof-of-concept design guide. The article illustrates this with the example of a simulation study of UWB SAR based on a multifrequency signal.

By Dmitriy Garmatyuk
adar systems have been used extensively over the past decade for a variety of applications and in a multitude of congurations. One of the relatively more modern implementationsalthough its origins are traced back to the end of the 1950s[1]is imaging radar, in particular, synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Imaging radars are used to obtain visual information about the environment of interest, often with the goal of discerning particular objects concealed either intentionally or unintentionally in the background. These radars can be geared toward certain scenarios, such

as discovery of buried mines and unexploded ordnance [2-3], or assessment of polar ice cap dynamics[4], or as a surveillance and target tracking tool in reconnaissance operations[5]. In all scenarios, however, radar engineers wishing to improve the resolution of resultant imagery cannot evade the underlying principle of inverse relationship between a radar signals bandwidth and a minimum imaged feature dimension in range coordinate. Thus, to properly distinguish between target components of particular size, one needs to select the bandwidth of imaging radar signal accommodating range

resolution that corresponds to that size. In recent years, the interest in submeter resolution SAR has grown, in part thanks to continued research into automatic target recognition (ATR) algorithms. When it is desired to not only detect, but also to identify the target as belonging to a certain category (e.g., make and model of a tank), high resolution of obtained radar images is of much importance[6 -7]. Thus, among the relatively new R&D directions in the eld of radar systems is design and analysis of ultrawideband, or UWB (see Authors Note) waveforms and

Figure 1. Transmitter model.

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Figure 2. Target model.

Splitting the signal into 16 paths and multiplying each copy by appropriate reflection coefficient

architectures[8]. For example, in the somewhat extreme case of using SAR to monitor singleperson targets one cannot avoid implementing UWB waveforms[9]. Because designing high-resolution radar often amounted to building UWB radar, several approaches to implementing UWB signals were used. Conventionally, UWB radars were based on generation and coherent receptione.g., via matched lteringof ultrashort pulses, e.g., Gaussian pulses[10-11]. This approach does, indeed, provide for high-range resolution if pulse duration is small enough. However, it also has certain disadvantages, such as low spectral efciency and ease of signal repeatability (once the signal has been intercepted by an adversary), which can make these imaging systems susceptible to certain types of electronic counter-measures (ECM). Other existing alternatives to pulse-based radars include linear-frequency modulation (LFM) and stepped-frequency radars[12] . These types of radar, in particular LFM-based,

are currently being explored for wideband applications, which may include dual-use (radar and communication system) and antijamming characteristics[13-15]. More exibility in spectrum allocation and in handling the instantaneous frequency and phase of radar signal translates into better opportunities for combating ECMe.g., via pulse diversityand expanding radar functionalities. The main disadvantage of those implementations is increased complexity of resultant systems if UWB waveform generation and reception are desired. A class of UWB true-noise and pseudonoise radars, which can be pulse-based or continuous-wave (CW), is being investigated by several researchers, who point out inherent ECM resistance of random waveforms as a natural advantage[16-19]. While these radars exhibit good low probability of intercept and detect (LPI/LPD) characteristics, they are also more difcult to implement for medium- and long-range applications due to the complexity of building a high-power transmitter with

sufciently large dynamic range to accommodate non-constant-envelope random noise signals. Furthermore, the nature of the noise signal allows little control of its parameters by an engineer or operator. Another promising area is multicarrier radar systems, which employ signals that represent a collection of sinusoids at various center frequencies. Using these independent carriers is advantageous in terms of pulse diversity and also in terms of exploiting frequency-dependent characteristics of the channel and signal returns[20-21]. Due to recent advances in digital signal processingparticularly in sampling technologyit is becoming possible to extend multicarrier signal bandwidth to make them truly UWB waveforms. One uniting characteristic of many UWB imaging radars is the complexity of their design and data analysis. Because of the multitude of different scenarios in which particular types of imaging radars will operate, there is no one single model that describes radar signal propagation and reection characteristics. The

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Figure 3. (a) Receiver model and (b) SNR-computing block.

indoor environment of a building based on steel beam construction, for example, will be vastly different from the indoor environment of an all-brick house from the perspective of interior signal propagation. Adding ECM effects will further complicate the picture. Therefore, a comprehensive radar simulation test bench is often a requirement for any novel implementation.

UWB imaging radar simulation

Modeling radar systems is a low-cost way to create proof-of-concept results for novel

radar architectures; however, they are difcult to implement due to a considerable number of variables and conditions to be taken into account. With new advances in modeling software and computer speeds such simulation analyses are becoming more attractive as they also allow identifying potential bottlenecks in the entire system, from the overall radar architecture to particular channel models in various conditions. Different options with respect to choosing a particular simulator exist; for this example we have chosen Matlab Simulink platform due to relative simplicity and fast

learning curve. As a starting point, users may refer to the demonstration test bench RF Satellite Link built into Matlab Help (Help Demos (tab) Blocksets Communications Channel Models and Impairments RF Satellite Link). This demo contains all the major components of an RF communication systemmodulator, high-power transmitter amplier model, free space propagation channel model, thermal noise and phase offset in the receiver, automatic gain control model, demodulator and results displays. The test bench discussed in this article is

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Figure 4. Simulink test bench scope capture.

aimed at proof-of-concept simulation analysis for the synthetic aperture radar implementation based on orthogonal multicarrier UWB pulses. It assumes the general transceiver architecture similar to the one used for OFDMbased communication systems[22-23]. The test

bench incorporates full transceiver design on a block diagram level, with the potential of adding RF effects and an upgradable channel and target scene model, with free space loss and multipath delays. The resultant product of the test bench is simulated radar imagery in vari-

ous noise conditions and target configurations, along with system-level observations intended to assist in subsequent hardware design and test of the prototype. The partitioning between using Simulink and Matlab appropriate for imaging radar simulations is done the following way: signal generation, transmission, reception of radar returns, sampling and recording them into digital arrays are performed in Simulink, while image generation and processing is performed using Matlab scripts. Below is a description of the Simulink-based part of the test bench. Transmitter: Consists mainly of digital blocks QPSK encoder, IFFT block (to translate subcarriers from frequency domain representation into time-domain I/Q samples) and auxiliary blocks. All sub-blocks shown in inserts in Figure 1 are standard Simulink components. A Bernoulli binary generator provides random numbers from which the radar signal is formed. Free space loss: Simulink has a pre-made block that implements the general formula for a single-frequency signal loss for one-way propagation. For radars, we need to implement the following formula for roundtrip propagation:

4 2r min Lr min = 20 log10 min


where rmin is the minimum target range from the radar and min is the wavelength of the minimum frequency in the signals spectrum, which is achieved by simply doubling the path distance in Simulink free space path loss block parameters. Target model: The simple way to implement a target model is to represent it as a collection of point scatterers. Each scatterer, therefore, will be characterized by a distance from radar (and, thus, a path loss associated with that distance) and by the strength of reection. In our model we designated 16point scatterers within a 24-meter range swath, of which ve scatterers were dened as strong and the rest were dened as clutter with reection coefcients around 20 dB below those of the strong scatterers. The target model is shown in Figure 2. Receiver and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)-computation models: As shown in Figure 3a, the receiver consists of an I/Q

Figure 5. Simulated point target scene reconstruction using Simulink radar test bench data (true target locations are circled).

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detector (it is possible to introduce carrier offset in the target model to simulate non-ideal mixing processes; it is also possible to introduce I/Q imbalance by randomly multiplying the output channels by non-unity values), delayed sampler (the delay is introduced to align the receive signal with the transmit signal for better visual representation), and FFT block (it performs demodulation process for the digitally constructed transmitter multicarrier signal). The decision blocks map processed-signal samples to digital values for further QPSK demodulation. The SNR-computing block shown in Figure 3b implements a conventional expression for calculating a ratio of the receive signals energy to noise energy, averaged over four sample periods. These components fully describe the functionality of a multicarrier UWB radar, yielding radar return samples in digital format, for a given target function and SNR. Standard Simulink blocks that can be added to the test bench to enhance the simulation process are: realistic power amplier models; phase noise in the receiver; frequency offset to simulate targets Doppler; receiver noise temperature; complex lter models to simulate transmitter and receiver interconnect (e.g., cables connecting RF front-end to the antenna); non-Gaussian noise, etc. A sample scope capture from Simulink test bench is shown in Figure 4. Transmit and receive signals spectra are shown in the inset. A transmit signal of the 16 ns duration is shown in the uppermost graph, the receive signals at different stages (at the antenna; after I/Q detector with carrier removed; after 1 Gsps sample-and-delay block) are shown below. The SNR-computing block showed approximately 5.5 dB. Note that Matlab and Simulink operate with discrete numbers only, thus even analog signals in Simulink have to be represented by digital samples. It is, therefore, critical to choose the proper simulation step, which is different from sampling interval used in the test bench to model ADC/DAC performance. Maximum time step size was chosen to be 20 ps for this test bench, while the sampling rate in the transceiver itself was 1 Gsps. Then, the resultant samples were recorded by the test bench to data les in the format ready for processing using Matlab scripts. One common method of target scene reconstruction for UWB signals is matched ltering in range and cross-range coordinates. Due to the nature of the test bench, we can generate a range scan in one simulation. To obtain a range prole, then, we will simply need to perform matched ltering of the recorded return signal, using a stored copy of the transmitted pulse[24]. Cross-range prole reconstruction is performed in a similar manner. However, one simulation test bench run will only produce one cross-range data point for a given range coordinate. The total number of cross-range signal samples required to produce alias-free image depends on synthetic aperture length (total path described by a radar in the direction perpendicular to range axis) and the signals wavelength. For our scenario we found that the minimum number of samples required was about 500. While it may be possible to run 500 simulations for each radar position in the cross-range coordinate, we chose to run the simulation only once and simulate the rest of the 499 range proles, based on the data obtained, by assuming a certain distribution of targets in cross-range and adjusting the phase of each return depending on the current radar position. To add realism to this method, we should also vary the noise added to the signal for each range prole, which is addressed in a Matlab image-processing script. The back projection method of image construction was used[24] to obtain the 2-D array representing the nal image. Shown in Figure 5 is a sample image of 15 strong point targets (with ellipses marking the true target locations as dened in the model) amid clutter, with a SNR 5.5 dB. Simulating the performance of a high-resolution imaging radar system is achievable using Simulink/Matlab. Simulink contains a large number of pre-made blocks (provided all appropriate toolboxes and blocksets are includedthe author used communication, RF and

Simulation results

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signal processing blocksets in the test bench described) which can be used to model various types of communication and radar systems. Performed on a 3.4 GHz Pentium 4, one range prole run computing approximately 10,000 pseudo-analog signal samples per block and yielding 160 radar data points takes about two minutes. Subsequent signal phase processing for cross-range prole simulation and image reconstruction are completed in Matlab within one minute. Overall results can be checked vs. different parameters, such as system noise, targets reectivity function, signals

bandwidth, RF impairments and secondary methods of image enhancement. Due to the relatively low time and material expenses involved, this type of radar simulation analysis is deemed promising, particularly for UWB radars with complex architectures that are heavily reliant on digital technology, such as multicarrier OFDM systems.

References

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June 2003. 15. M. Soumekh, SAR-ECCM Using Phase-perturbed LFM Chirp Signals and DRFM Repeat Jammer Penalization, Proc. of 2005 IEEE Int. Radar Conf., Arlington, VA, pp. 507-512, May 2005. 16. X. Xu and R. M. Narayanan, FOPEN SAR Imaging Using UWB Step-frequency and Random Noise Waveforms, IEEE Trans. Aerospace and Electronic Systems, vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 1287-1300, October 2001. 17. D. S. Garmatyuk and R. M. Narayanan, ECCM Capabilities of an Ultrawideband Bandlimited Random Noise Imaging Radar, IEEE Trans. Aerospace and Electronic Systems, vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 1243-1255, October 2002. 18. G.-S. Liu, H. Gu, W.-M. Su, H.-B. Sun, and J.-H. Zhang, Random Signal RadarA Winner in Both the Military and Civilian Operating environments, IEEE Trans. Aerospace and Electronic Systems, vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 489-498, April 2003. 19. S. R. J. Axelsson, Noise Radar Using Random Phase and Frequency Modulation, IEEE Trans. Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 42, No. 11, pp. 2370-2384, November 2004. 20. E. Mozeson and N. Levanon, Multicarrier Radar Signals with Low Peak-to-mean Envelope Power Ratio, IEE Proc. Radar, Sonar and Navigation, vol. 150, No. 2, pp. 71-77, April 2003. 21. R. J. Duckworth, H. K. Parikh, and W. R. Michalson, Radio Design and Performance Analysis of Multicarrier-Ultrawideband (MC-UWB) Positioning System, Proc.

of 2005 Institute of Navigation (ION) National Tech. Meeting, San Diego, Calif, January 2005 (http://www.ece.wpi.edu/Research/PPL/Publications/ionntm2005.pdf) 22. A. Batra, J. Balakrishnan, A. Dabak, et al., TI physical layer proposal: Time-frequency interleaved OFDM, IEEE 802.15 Working Group Document Archive, 2003 (http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/15/ pub/2003/Mar03/0314r0P802-15_TG3a-TICFP-Presentation.ppt). 23. A. Batra, J. Balakrishnan, G. R. Aiello, J. R. Foerster, and A. Dabak, Design of a

multiband OFDM system for realistic UWB channel environments, IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory and Techniques, vol. 52, No. 9, Part 1, pp. 2123-2138, September 2004. 24. M. Soumekh, Synthetic Aperture Radar Signal Processing with MATLAB Algorithms, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1999. The most common denition of ultrawideband signal is the type of signal which occupies a fractional bandwidth of 20% or greater, or whose overall bandwidth is 500 MHz or more.

Authors Note

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dmitriy Garmatyuk received a Dipl. Eng. in Radar/Communication Systems in 1996 from Taganrog State University of Radioengineering, Taganrog, Russia and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in 2001. From 2001 until 2005 he held a position of senior analog design engineer at Chipset Design Group of Intel Corporation in Folsom, Calif. working on gigabit architectures, circuits, MB-OFDM UWB feasibility analysis and high-speed interconnect signal integrity. In 2005 he joined Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) as a Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering faculty member. His research interests include ultrawideband radar for imaging and surveillance, imaging sensor networks, signal integrity in gigabit links and system-level modeling/simulation of highspeed data transfer architectures.

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