Phased-array design for biological clutter rejection: Simulation and experimental validation

Boon Leng Cheong, M. W. Hoffman, R. D. Palmer, Stephen J. Frasier, F. J. López-Dekker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper highlights recent results obtained with the Turbulent Eddy Profiler (TEP), which was developed by the University of Massachusetts. This unique 915-MHz radar has up to 64 spatially separated receiving elements, each with an independent receiver. The calibrated raw data provided by this array could be processed using sophisticated imaging algorithms to resolve the horizontal structures within each range gate. After collecting all of the closely spaced horizontal slices, the TEP radar can produce three-dimensional images of echo power, radial velocity, and spectral width. From the radial velocity measurements, it is possible to estimate the three-dimensional wind with high horizontal and vertical resolution. Given the flexibility of the TEP system, various array configurations are possible. In the present work exploitation of the flexibility of TEP is attempted to enhance the rejection of clutter from unwanted biological targets. From statistical studies, most biological clutter results from targets outside the main imaging field of view, that is, the sidelobes and grating lobes (if they exist) of the receiving beam. Because the TEP array's minimum receiver separation exceeds the spatial Nyquist sampling requirement, substantial possibilities for grating-lobe clutter exist and are observed in actual array data. When imaging over the transmit beam volume, the receiving array main lobe is scanned over a ±12.5° region. This scanning also sweeps the grating lobes over a wide angular region, virtually guaranteeing that a biological scatterer outside of the main beam will appear somewhere in the imaged volume. This paper focuses on suppressing pointlike targets in the grating-lobe regious. With a subtle change to the standard TEP array hardware configuration, it is shown via simulations and actual experimental observations (collected in June 2003) that adaptive beamforming methods can subsequently be used to significantly suppress the effects of point targets on the wind field estimates. These pointlike targets can be birds or planes with strong reflectivity. By pointlike the authors mean its appearance is a distinct point (up to the imaging resolution) in the images. The pointlike strong reflectivity signature exploits the capability of adaptive beamforming to suppress the interference using the new array configuration. It should be noted that this same array configuration does not exhibit this beneficial effect when standard Fourier beamforming is employed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-598
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


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