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Layout-optimized Cylindrical Sonar Arrays

Jan Egil Kirkebø, Andreas Austeng and Sverre Holm

Department of Informatics, University of Oslo P.O. Box 1080, Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway Corresponding author: janki@ifi.uio.no

Abstract— The cost of sonars scales to the number of active elements. Therefore, it is favorable to reduce the number of elements without loss in imaging quality. This is a combinatorial problem, but of such a large dimension, even for small arrays, that an exhaustive search is futile. In this work, we have found layout-optimized sparsed cyl- indrical arrays, i.e. arrays with binary weights. In underwater applications, with demands for omni-directional imaging, cyl- indrical arrays have shown to have beneficial qualities, and are commonly used in fishery. We have found that to optimize the layout of the cylindrical array it is sufficient to optimize a small sub-array. With a reasonable number of elements in the elevation direction, finding the optimal array is then possible through an exhaustive search. The cylindrical array was then sparsed so that each line of elements in the elevation direction were chosen to correspond to the sub-array array.

I. INTRODUCTION

Cylindrical sonar arrays are often used in fishery industry to image the sea in all directions around a boat. The sonar used

is a 3D matrix array consisting of a large number of elements

arranged in a pattern covering the cylinder surface. In transmit mode, all transducer elements are excited to form an umbrella-shaped beampattern illuminating all 360 at the same time. In reception mode, single line beampatterns are constructed using some or all elements pointing in the imaging direction. For both transmit and receive mode, the imaging performance will scale with the number of elements. Besides the total number of elements, the layout of the 3D matrix

transducer array is another limitation to the possible perform- ance of a sonar. At the same time the cost and complexity of the system scales with the number of elements/channels in the transducer array. Therefore, it is desirable to choose the number of elements and position of these elements to attain

a low cost and low complexity system with optimal image

quality. Array optimization has a long history in radar literature dating back almost 50 years. One-dimensional (1D) and two- dimensional (2D) array optimization has been applied for sonar applications more recently [1]–[3]. The complexity of

the problem to solve scales with the number of elements in the array and, therefore, array optimization of a 3D array is

a difficult and challenging task which in the general case can

be hard to solve. In this paper an approach is presented which simplifies the optimization problem so that in most cases brute force can be applied to find the optimal solution. To ensure the omni-directional property of the arrays, this is done by making the presented designs periodic in the azimuth direction in

blocks of two lines in the elevation direction. These blocks are repeated 16 times in the azimuth direction, to form a cylinder. Sparse array layouts where the maximal sidelobe level can be

traded against the mainlobe width is presented. Compared to solutions having all elements arranged in a belt, solutions with both lower sidelobes and narrower beamwidth are presented.

To calculate the beampatterns of all the permutations a method

is presented which reduces the computational cost significantly by a differential update. The article is organized as follows. In Section II sparse arrays and the model for the calculation of beampatterns of arrays with directive elements are introduced. This is followed by results in Section III, and the conclusion in Section IV.

II. METHOD

A. Sparse array optimization

In spite of a long history, most methods of array optim- ization reported during the last century show similarities. Common for the different approaches are the assumption of a regular underlying grid of the arrays, each element having continuous wave (CW) excitation and each element being an omni-directional point element. The number of permutations for an array with M elements and K active elements are

M

K

=

M! K!(M K)! .

(1)

For the array presented in Section III, with M = 320 elements sparsed to K = 160 elements, this corresponds to approximately 10 95 permutations. An exhaustive search of all the permutations, for all but very low values of M and K, is futile. Therefore, another approach is necessary to reduce the search space. In fishery it is desireable to have omni-directional ima- ging properties. Using a cylindrical array, the same level

of performance in all directions can be obtained by having

periodicity in the layout in the azimuth direction of the array. The block of elements which are periocically repeated forms

a 1D array. Analysis of the beamforming performance in

each direction can then be reduced to studying the periodic extension of the 1D array wrapped around a cylinder.

B. Beam Pattern

The far-field continuous wave (CW) beampattern of an array with M omni-directional elements focused in infinity is given

wavefront z k : azimuth : elevation s , y x m x
wavefront
z
k
: azimuth
: elevation
s
,
y
x m
x

Transducer array

by [4]:

Fig. 1.

Coordinate system for 2D arrays.

W(k) =

M

m=1

w m e jk ·x m ,

where x m are the element locations and w m are the cor- responding weights. k is the wavenumber vector, which has the amplitude |k| = 2π/λ, where λ is the wavelength. The element directivity function (i.e. smoothing function) for the mth element is [4]:

A m (k) =

−∞

a m (x)e jk ·x dx,

(2)

where a m (x) is the aperture function over the element. The CW beampattern for directive elements then becomes

W(k) =

M

m=1

w m A m (k)e jk ·x m ,

o

(3)

where A m (k) is the element directivity function shifted to the origin. This can be shown through “the space-shifting property” of the spatial Fourier transform, which corresponds to the time-shifting property of the Fourier transform in time- frequency-space. Writing the unit direction vector as

s θ,φ = (cos θ sin φ, sin θ sin φ, cos φ)

in rectangular coordinates (Figure 1), the wavenumber vector becomes k = 2πs θ,φ . For a circular element with radius d it is

o

A(k xy ) = 2πd J 1 (k xy d),

k

xy

where k xy represents radius in the (k x , k y ) plane. J m (x) is the m-order Bessel function of the first kind. In [5] a method is presented which can be used to reduce the computational time for calculating the beampattern of a series

of sparsed arrays, for which the number of differing elements between consecutive arrays is small. Define the weight vector

w

= [w 1 ,

,

w M ], and

v(θ, φ) =

A

o

1

(θ,

A

M (θ,

o

φ)e

j2πs

.

.

.

θ,

φ

·x 1

φ)e j2πs θ, φ ·x M

.

The beampattern can then be written as

W (θ, φ) = w(θ, φ)v(θ, φ).

Sample the beampattern in the directions (θ n , φ n ), n =

N , and let s n denote the corresponding unit direction

vector. By introducing the extended matrix

(4)

the beampattern matrix for all sampled angles (θ n , φ n ) can be written as

(5)

An important observation is that row m in (4) corresponds to the contribution of element m to the total beampattern in

(5). Thus, to calculate the response with element m added or removed, one only needs to remove or add the row with the values

W = wv.

1, ,

v

= v(φ 1 , θ 1 ),

,

v(φ n , θ n )

A

o (φ 1 , θ 1 )e j2πs 1 ·

m

A

.

.

.

o (φ N , θ N )e j2πs N

m

x m

·x m

T

(6)

to the matrix v in (4) and do the corresponding operation on

the weight vector w. By choosing the permutations carefully the number of changes in elements between each iteration will in almost all cases be limited to one or two. This limits the computational cost of updating v in (5) to one or two times 2M complex additions, respectively. To evaluate the different layout candidates, three measures

of imaging quality performance have been used. The main focus has been on the peak sidelobe level, which indicates the signal-to-noise ratio of the array. The other two measures are beamwidth and integrated sidelobe ratio (ISLR). The beam- width defines the lateral resolution, while the ISLR relates to the contrast of the imaging system [6]. It is given as the ratio of the energy in the sidelobes to the energy in the mainlobe, where in this work the mainlobe-sidelobe transition is given at the 6 dB level.

III. RESULTS

Simulations were done on an array with 10 elements in elevation on a staggered layout, and 32 elements in the azimuth direction (M = 320). This is depicted in Figure 2, where elevation is along the x-axis and azimuth is oriented parallel to the surface of the cylinder at x = 0. Each element was circular, with a diameter of 0.008 m. The center frequency was f 0 = 120 kHz, and the speed of sound was c = 1500 m/s. The diameter of the cylinder was 0.075 m, and the height 0.84 m. The array was sparsed by up to a factor of 50 % (K = 160) and all elements had unity weighting.

Array = SonarCyl10x32, No. els. = 320

40 30 20 10 0 −10 −20 −30 −40 −50 −40 −30 −20 −10 0
40
30
20
10
0
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−50
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−30
−20
−10
0
10
20
30
40
50
y [mm]

Fig. 2.

x [mm]

Cylindrical array with 10 × 32 elements in a staggered grid.

Array = SonarCyl10x32, No. els. = 320

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0
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−50

−1

−0.8

−0.6

−0.4

−0.2

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

Fig. 3.

Beampattern of cylindrical array with 10×32 elements in a staggered

grid.

The angles were simulated from θ [90 , 90 ] (elevation)

of the beampattern

and v = sin θ sin φ. The beamwidth is

given by its width at 6 dB. The beampattern of the full array in Figure 2 is shown in Figure 3. The beamwidth in the uv- domain is 0.172, corresponding to 9.9 . The worst-case cut of the beampattern is defined as

W C(φ) = max W (θ, φ),

are u = cos θ sin φ

and φ [90 , 90 ] (azimuth). The axes

θ>θ 0

where θ 0 corresponds to the angle of the first zero. The worst- case cut of the array in Figure 2 is shown in Figure 4. The maximum sidelobe level is 10.5 dB. An obvious way to reduce the number of elements in a

Array = SonarCyl10x32, No. els. = 320

0 −5 −10 −15 −20 −25 −30 −35 −40 −45 −50 0 0.1 0.2 0.3
0
−5
−10
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−25
−30
−35
−40
−45
−50
0 0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1
Worst−case cut [dB]

(u 2 + v 2 ) 1 / 2

Fig. 4.

elements in a staggered grid.

Worst-case cut of beampattern for cylindrical array with 10 × 32

Array = SonarCyl10x32Belt, No. els. = 160

0 −5 −10 −15 −20 −25 −30 −35 −40 −45 −50 0 0.1 0.2 0.3
0
−5
−10
−15
−20
−25
−30
−35
−40
−45
−50
0 0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1
Worst−case cut [dB]

(u 2 + v 2 ) 1 / 2

Fig. 5. Worst-case cut of beampattern of cylindrical array with 5 × 32 elements in a staggered grid.

cylindrical array is to remove the outer elements in elevation, so that the new array consists of the central belt of the original array. A 50 % reduction of elements in the array in Figure 2 in the x-direction gives the worst-case cut in Figure 5. The beamwidth is 0.326, corresponding to 18.8 , and the maximum sidelobe level is 10.7 dB. This comforms with the predicted effect from theory, i.e. an increased beamwidth because of reduced aperture. To reduce the number of permutations to be investigated for the sparse arrays, given by (1) with M = 320 and K = 160, it is fruitful to consider the array as the product of two “linear” arrays; a 1 × 16 cylindrical array in azimuth, and the 10 × 2 staggered layout array in elevation shown in Figure 6.

y [mm]

y [mm]

Since the array should have omni-directional properties, all the arrays in elevation should have the same sparsing. A 50 % reduction of elements in the elevation sub-array, i.e. M = 20 and K = 10, leaves 184 756 permutations to investigate.

Array = SonarHexCirc10x02, No. els. = 20

10 5 0 −5 −10 −40 −30 −20 −10 0 10 20 30 40 y
10
5
0
−5
−10
−40
−30
−20
−10
0
10
20
30
40
y [mm]

Fig. 6.

x [mm]

10 × 2 array in a staggered layout.

To make the search space even more narrow the elevation arrays can be assumed to be symmetrical, giving M = 10 and K = 5 and thus 252 permutations. Calculating the beampattern for all the configurations is easy to do on today’s computer systems. For the case of a cylindrical array periodic in the azimuth direction, further reductions in the computational burden can be made in the method culminating in (6) by observing that the addition or removal of an element in the staggered layout array in Figure 6 gives an equivalent operation on all the corresponding elements in the cylindrical periodic extension of this array. The simplification is the done by adding all these rows, of the form given in (6), into one single row which contains the necessary information of all the elements. Hence, the beampattern of the cylindrical sparse array can be represented by a matrix w which contains the same number of rows as the staggered layout array. As the example with the belt-array showed earlier, it is important to take the beamwidth into consideration when optimizing with respect to the maximum sidelobe level. In order to find the optimal array layouts, the full beampattern of all 252 symmetrical designs were calculated and evaluated. The Opt. 1 array on the top was chosen as the best without restrictions on the beamwidth. With a restriction on the beam- width to be less than 0.17, the Opt. 2 had the best solution with respect to the maximum sidelobe level. Figure 7 shows the layout of the two solutions. The vital statistics for these arrays, along with the previously mentioned, are summed up in Table I. The Opt. 1 array on the top was chosen as the best without restrictions on the beamwidth. With a maximum sidelobe level of 10.5 and a beamwidth of 0.178, corresponding to 10.2 , it outperforms the belt-array with respect to both beamwidth and sidelobe levels. The Opt. 2 array was the best array with a beamwidth of less than that of the full array, with a maximum sidelobe level of 8.7 dB The beampatterns of the Opt. 1 and Opt. 2 arrays are shown in Figures 8 and 9, respectively. Though there is a trade- off between a narrow beamwidth and low sidelobe levels, it is not that significant for the example presented here. This is because of the small amount of elements in the azimuth

10

 
10      
   

5

   
5        
5        
 
5        
5        
 

0

     
0      

−5

 

−10

                             

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0

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x

[mm]

 

10

   
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x

[mm]

 

Fig. 7.

Layouts of optimized arrays for different beamwidths.

Array # els. −6 dB BW Max. SL [dB] Full 320 0.172 -10.5 Belt 160
Array
# els.
−6 dB BW
Max. SL [dB]
Full
320
0.172
-10.5
Belt
160
0.326
-10.7
Opt. 1
160
0.178
-10.5
Opt. 2
160
0.169
-8.7

TABLE I

PROPERTIES OF THE ARRAYS.

direction, which dictates a minimum beamwidth of about 0.17, independent on the number and configuration of elements in the elevation direction. With more elements in the azimuth direction, and a greater diameter of the cylinder, this would give more freedom in the choosing the trade-off outlined above. When choosing the trade-off outlined in the paragraph above, there is another factor which should be taken into consideration. In Figure 8, which corresponds to the optimized array with the widest beamwidth and lowest sidelobe level, the energy levels are more uniform and at a higher level. Thus, the array will receive more energy from the different directions than e.g. the array corresponding to the beampattern in Figure 9. This relates to the ISLR, which was mentioned in the introduction. ISLR decribes an arrays abillity to image low contrast media, which for instance would be the case when the algae concentration is large and the algae would act as false targets reflecting energy from all directions. For the Opt. 1 the ISLR is 19.6 dB, and for the Opt. 2 array it is 20.7 dB, confirming that the latter has better contrast. From Table I we see that it is well worth considering the use of sparse arrays in cylindrical sonar arrays. Compared to the belt, the sparse arrays give freedom to have improved maximum sidelobe levels compared to both the full and the belt arrays, or a beamwidth comparable to the full array.

IV. CONCLUSION

A method of finding well-performing cylindrical arrays has been presented. Through simulations a sparse 10 × 32 cyl-

Array = SonarCyl10x32Opt1, No. els. = 160

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0

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1

Fig. 8.

with no restriction on beamwidth.

Beampattern of optimized 10 × 32 sparsed with half of the elements,

Array = SonarCyl10x32Opt2, No. els. = 160

−1 0 −0.8 −5 −0.6 −10 −0.4 −15 −0.2 −20 0 −25 0.2 −30 0.4
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0
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1

Fig. 9.

with beamwidth restricted to less than 0.17.

Beampattern of optimized 10 × 32 sparsed with half of the elements

indrical array has been shown to have comparable performance to the corresponding full array with respect to both beam- width and maximum sidelobe levels, even with a reduction of elements of 50 %. Compared to the trivial reduction of elements of keeping just a central belt of elements there is a 50 % reduction in beamwidth for the same maximum sidelobe level. The suggested periodic array along with the differential updating scheme for calculating the beampattern, has made possible a full search of the possible solutions. The approach has shown viable of finding solutions with good performance properties. Works such as [3], [7] have shown that there are significant gains in allowing non-symmetry and weighting all elements. For future work it would be of interest to look at the potential gains in allowing asymmetric configurations in elevation, and possibly adding weights to the elements.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We would like to thank Trym Eggen at Simrad AS, Horten, Norway for fruitful discussions.

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