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Earthnet 14-Apr-2007

Polarimetry Tutorial

This section provides access to a wide-ranging tutorial, which aims to provide a grounding in

polarimetry and polarimetric interferometry with a view to stimulating research and

Home development of scientific applications that exploit such techniques.

Background

Airborne Data Sources The tutorial material is made available in PDF format, for which you will require Adobe

Spaceborne Data Sources Acrobat Reader to view. The tutorial is also bundled with the software download. To access

Simulated Data Sources the tutorial, click on a subject heading below.

Polarimetry Tutorial

Course Material

Introduction (70kb)

Documentation

Release notes

Download and Install Part I - Tutorial on Radar Polarimetry

Exploitation Results and

News

1. What Is Polarisation? (400kb)

Contacts and

2. Single vs Multi-Polarisation SAR Data (1.5Mb)

Acknowledgements

3. Speckle Filtering (650kb)

4. Polarimetric Decompositions (4.3Mb)

5. Polarimetric SAR Data Classification (700kb)

6. Envisat/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case (150kb)

2. Single vs Multi-Polarisation Interferometry (2.5Mb)

2. Rough Surface Scattering Models (300kb)

3. Single vs Multi-Polarisation Descriptors (350kb)

4. Estimation of Surface Characteristics (550kb)

Part VI - Do It Yourself

Foreword (13kb)

1. Getting Started with POLSARPRO (1.7Mb)

2. Representations of Polarimetric Information (650kb)

3. Speckle Filtering (2.7Mb)

4. Polarimetric Decompositions (1.2Mb)

5. Polarimetric Segmentation (450kb)

Polarimetry Tutorial

7. POLinSAR training course practicals (1.1Mb)

Lecture Notes

This section provides lectures on Basic and Advanced Radar Polarimetry and Polarimetric

SAR Interferometry by Wolfgang-Martin BOERNER, Eric POTTIER, Jong-Sen LEE, Laurent

FERRO-FAMIL and Shane R. CLOUDE.

(3.1Mb)

by Wolfgang-Martin BOERNER

by Wolfgang-Martin BOERNER

by Eric POTTIER, Jong-Sen LEE, Laurent FERRO-FAMIL

by Shane R. CLOUDE

http://earth.esa.int/polsarpro/Manuals/Introduction.pdf

The file http://earth.esa.int/polsarpro/Manuals/Introduction.pdf is a secure document that has been

embedded in this document. Double click the pushpin to view.

http://earth.esa.int/polsarpro/Manuals/Introduction.pdf4/14/2007 2:00:42 PM

What is Polarization?

1. WHAT IS POLARIZATION?

wave

The time-space behavior of electromagnetic waves is ruled by the Maxwell equations set

defined as

r r r r

r r r ∂B ( r , t ) r r r r r ∂D ( r , t )

∇ ∧ E (r , t ) = − ∇ ∧ H (r , t ) = J T (r , t ) +

r ∂t ∂t

r r r r r r (1)

∇ ⋅ D(r , t ) = ρ (r , t ) ∇ ⋅ B (r , t ) = 0

r r r r r r r r

where E (r , t ), H ( r , t ), D ( r , t ), B (r , t ) are the wave electric field, magnetic field, electric

induction and magnetic induction respectively.

r r r r r r

The total current density, J T ( r , t ) = J a ( r , t ) + J c (r , t ) is composed of two terms. The first one,

r r

J a ( r , t ) , corresponds to a source term, whereas the conduction current density,

r r r r

J c (r , t ) = σ E (r , t ) , depends on the conductivity of the propagation medium, σ . The scalar

r

field ρ (r , t ) represents the volume density of free charges.

The different fields and induction are related by the following relations

( )

r r r r r r r r r r r r

D (r , t ) = ε E (r , t ) + P(r , t ) B(r , t ) = μ H (r , t ) + M (r , t ) (2)

r r r r

The vectors P (r , t ) and M ( r , t ) are called polarization and magnetization, while ε and

μ stand for the medium permittivity and permeability.

In the following, we shall consider the propagation of an electromagnetic wave in a linear

medium (free of saturation and hysteresis), free of sources. These hypothesis imposes that

r r r r r r r r

M ( r , t ) = P ( r , t ) = 0 and J a (r , t ) = 0 .

r r r r r r r r r r

∇ ∧ (∇ ∧ E ( r , t )) = ∇ (∇ ⋅ E ( r , t )) − ΔE ( r , t ) and is formulated as

r r r r r r

r r ∂ 2 E (r ,t ) ∂ E (r ,t ) ∂ ∇ρ (r ,t )

ΔE (r ,t ) − με − μσ =−1 (3)

∂t 2

∂t ε ∂t

1

What is Polarization?

Among the infinite number of solutions to the equation of propagation mentioned in (3), we

will study the special case of constant amplitude monochromatic plane waves which is

adapted to the analysis of a wave polarization.

r r

∂ ∇ρ (r ,t ) r

The monochromatic assumption implies that the right hand term of (3) is null = 0,

∂t

i.e. the propagation medium is free of mobile electric charges (e.g. is not a plasma whose

charged particles may interact with the wave).

The propagation equation expression can be significantly simplified by considering the

r r r r

complex expression, E (r ) , of the monochromatic time-space electric field, E (r , t ) , defined

as

( )

r r r r

E ( r , t ) = ℜ E ( r ) e j ωt (4)

r r ⎛ σ ⎞ r r r r 2 r r

Δ E (r ) + ω 2 με ⎜1− j ⎟ E (r ) = Δ E (r ) + k E (r )

⎝ εω ⎠

(5)

ω σ

with k = 1− j

v εω

Here appears the concept of complex dielectric constant

σ ω ε ′′

ε = ε ′ − jε ′′ = ε − j then k = 1− j = β − jα (6)

ω v ε

In a general way, a monochromatic plane wave , with constant complex amplitude,

r r

E 0 = E à e jδ , propagating in the direction of the wave vector, kˆ , has the complex following

form

r r r rr r r

E ( r ) = E 0 e − j k ⋅r with E ( r ) ⋅ kˆ = 0 (7)

One may verify that such a wave satisfies the propagation equation given in (5). Without any

loss of generality, the electric field may be represented in an orthonormal basis

( xˆ , yˆ , zˆ ) defined so that the direction of propagation kˆ = zˆ . The expression of the electric field

becomes

r r

E ( z ) = E 0 e −αz e − jβz with E 0 z = 0 (8)

It may be observed from (8) that β acts as the wave number in time domain, while α

corresponds to an attenuation factor. Back to time domain, this expression becomes in

vectorial form

⎡ E 0 x e − az cos(ωt − kz + δ x ) ⎤

r ⎢ ⎥

E ( z , t ) = ⎢ E 0 y e − az cos(ωt − kz + δ y )⎥ (9)

⎢ 0 ⎥

⎣ ⎦

2

What is Polarization?

The attenuation term is common to all the elements of the electric field vector and is then

unrelated to the wave polarization. For this reason, the medium is assumed to be loss free,

α = 0 , in the following

⎡ E 0 x cos(ωt − kz + δ x ) ⎤

r

E (r , t ) = ⎢⎢ E 0 y cos(ωt − kz + δ y )⎥⎥ (10)

⎢⎣ 0 ⎥⎦

At a fixed time, t = t 0 , the electric field is composed of two orthogonal sinusoidal waves

with, in general, different amplitudes and phases at the origin.

y$

x$

Ex ( z, t )

0

z$

E y ( z, t )

Figure 1 Spatial evolution of a monochromatic plane wave components.

• Linear polarization: δ = δ y − δ x = 0 + mπ

The electric field is then a sine wave inscribed within a plane oriented with an angle φ with

respect to x̂

⎡cos φ ⎤

r

E ( z 0 , t ) = E 02x + E 02y ⎢⎢ sin φ ⎥⎥ cos(ωt 0 − kz + δ x ) (11)

⎢⎣ 0 ⎥⎦

3

What is Polarization?

y$

x$ r

E( z , t )

0 Ex ( z, t )

z$

In this case, the wave has a constant modulus and is oriented with an angle φ (z ) with respect

to the x̂ axis

r

E ( z, t 0 ) = E02x + E02y and φ ( z ) = ± (ωt à − kz + δ x ) (12)

y$ r

x$ E( z , t )

Ex ( z, t )

0

z$

E y ( z, t )

Figure 3 Spatial evolution of a circularly polarized plane wave.

• Elliptic polarization: Otherwise

The wave describes a helicoidal trajectory around the ẑ axis.

4

What is Polarization?

y$ r

x$ E( z , t )

Ex ( z, t )

0

z$

E y ( z, t )

Figure 4 Spatial evolution of a elliptically polarized plane wave.

The former paragraph introduced the spatial evolution of a plane monochromatic wave and

showed that it follows a helicoidal trajectory along the ẑ axis. From a practical point of view,

three-dimensional helicoidal curves are difficult to represent and to analyze. This is why a

characterization of the wave in the time domain, at a fixed position, z = z 0 is generally

preferred.

y$ r

x$ E( z , t )

r

y$

E( z0 , t )

0 x$

z0 z$

The temporal behavior is then studied within an equiphase plane, orthogonal to the direction

of propagation and at a fixed location along the ẑ axis. As time evolves, the wave propagates

"through" equi-phase planes nd describe a characteristic elliptical locus as shown in Figure 5.

The nature of the wave temporal trajectory may be determined from the following parametric

r

relation between the components of E ( z0 , t )

5

What is Polarization?

2

⎛ E y ( z0 , t ) ⎞

2

⎛ E x ( z0 , t) ⎞ E ( z , t)E y ( z0 , t)

⎜⎜ ⎟⎟ − 2 x 0 cos(δ y − δ x ) + ⎜ ⎟ = sin(δ y − δ x ) (13)

E E E ⎜ E ⎟

⎝ 0x ⎠ 0x 0 y ⎝ 0y ⎠

The expression in (13) is the equation of an ellipse, called the polarization ellipse, that

describes the wave polarization.

The polarization ellipse shape may be characterized using 3 parameters as shown in Figure 6.

ŷ

E0 x

τ

ẑ E0 y

φ

x̂

A

- A is called the ellipse amplitude and is determined from the ellipse axis as

⎡ π π⎤

- φ ∈ ⎢− , ⎥ is the ellipse orientation and is defined as the angle between the ellipse major

⎣ 2 2⎦

axis and x̂

E0 x E0 y

tan 2φ = 2 cos δ with δ = δ y − δ x (15)

E02x − E02y

⎡ π⎤

- τ ∈ ⎢0, ⎥ is the ellipse aperture, also called ellipticity, defined as

⎣ 4⎦

E0 x E0 y

sin 2τ = 2 sin δ (16)

E02x + E02y

6

What is Polarization?

r

As time elapses, the wave vector E ( z0 , t ) rotates in the ( xˆ , yˆ ) to describe the polarization

r

ellipse. The time-dependent orientation of E ( z0 , t ) with respect to x̂ , named ξ (t ) is shown in

Figure 7.

ŷ

r

E (z0 , t )

ẑ ξ (t)

x̂

r

Figure 7 Time-dependent rotation of E ( z 0 , t ) .

The time-dependent angle may be defined from the components of the wave vector in order to

determine its sense of rotation.

E y ( z0 , t ) E 0 y cos(ωt − kz 0 + δ y )

tan ξ (t ) = = (17)

E x ( z0 , t) E0 x cos(ωt − kz 0 + δ x )

The sense of rotation may then be related to the sign of the variable τ

∂ξ (t ) ⎛ ∂ξ (t ) ⎞ E0 x E0 y

∝ − sin δ ⇒ sign⎜ ⎟ = − sign (τ ) with sin 2τ = 2 2 sin δ (18)

∂t ⎝ ∂t ⎠ E 0 x + E02y

∂ξ (t )

propagation. A right hand rotation corresponds then to > 0 ⇒ (τ , δ ) < 0 whereas a left

∂t

∂ξ (t )

hand rotation is characterized by < 0 ⇒ (τ , δ ) > 0 .

∂t

Figure 8 provides a graphical description of the rotation sense convention.

7

What is Polarization?

ŷ ŷ

ẑ ẑ

x̂ x̂

ŷ ŷ

x̂ x̂

ẑ ẑ

(a) (b)

Figure 8 (a) Left hand elliptical polarizations. (b) Right hand elliptical polarizations.

A wave polarization is completely defined by two parameters derived from the polarization

ellipse

⎡ π π⎤

- its orientation, φ ∈ ⎢− , ⎥

⎣ 2 2⎦

⎡ π π⎤

- its ellipticity τ ∈ ⎢− , ⎥ , with sign (τ ) indicating the sense of rotation

⎣ 4 4⎦

The ellipse amplitude A can be used to estimate the wave power density.

The following procedure provides a quick (calculation free) way to roughly estimate a wave

polarization.

Three cases may be discriminated from the knowledge of δ = δ y − δ x , EOx , EOy

• δ = 0, π

8

What is Polarization?

⎛ E0 y ⎞

The polarization is linear since τ = 0 and the orientation angle is given by φ = tan −1 ⎜⎜ ⎟⎟ if

⎝ E0 x ⎠

⎛ E0 y ⎞

δ = 0 and φ = −a tan⎜⎜ ⎟⎟ if δ = π

⎝ E 0 x ⎠

π

• δ =± and E 0 x = E 0 y

2

π

The polarization is circular, since τ = ± and the sense of rotation is given by sign (δ ) .

4

If δ < 0 , the polarization is right circular, whereas for δ > 0 the polarization is left circular.

• Otherwise

If δ < 0 , the polarization is right elliptic, whereas for δ > 0 the polarization is left elliptic.

In practice the axes x̂ and ŷ are generally referred to as the horizontal, ĥ and vertical vˆ

directions.

(a) (b)

Figure 9 (a) Horizontal polarization (b) Vertical polarization.

(a) (b)

Figure 10 (a) Linear + 45° polarization. (b) Linear - 45° polarization.

9

What is Polarization?

(a) (b)

Figure 11 (a) Right circular polarization. (b) Left circular polarization.

(a) (b)

Figure 12 (a) Right elliptical –45 °polarization. (b) Left elliptical +45 °polarization.

1.3.1 Definition

The representation of a plane monochromatic electric field under the form of a Jones vector

aims to describe the wave polarization using the minimum amount of information.

r

A Jones vector, E , is defined from the time-space vector E ( z , t ) as

( )

r r r

E = E (0) with E ( z , t ) = ℜ E ( z ) e jωt (19)

r

From the formulation of E ( z , t ) given in (10), E can be written as

⎡ E e jδ x ⎤

E = ⎢ 0 x jδ y ⎥ (20)

⎢⎣ E 0 y e ⎥⎦

The definitions of a polarization state from the polarization ellipse descriptors or from a Jones

vector are equivalent.

A Jones vector can be formulated as a two-dimensional complex vector function of the

polarization ellipse characteristics as follows :

10

What is Polarization?

E = Ae jα ⎢ ⎥ (21)

⎣sin φ cosτ + j cos φ sin τ ⎦

Where α is an absolute phase term.

The Jones vector may be written under a more effective matrix form

⎡cos φ − sin φ ⎤ ⎡ cosτ ⎤

E = Ae jα ⎢

cos φ ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ j sin τ ⎥⎦

(22)

⎣ sin φ

Two Jones vectors, E 1 and E 2 are orthogonal if their hermitian scalar product is equal to 0,

i.e.

E1 E 2 = 0

†

(23)

with † the transpose conjugate operator.

From the definition of a Jones vector given in (22), it is straightforward to remark that the

orthogonality condition implies that ellipse parameters of E 1 and E 2 satisfy

π

φ 2 = φ1 + and τ 2 = −τ 1 (24)

2

One may remark that the orthogonality condition does not depend on the absolute phase term

of each Jones vector, α 1 and α 2 , i.e. if E 1 and E 2 are orthogonal, then E 1 and E 2 e jψ are

orthogonal too, for any value of ψ .

According to the definition of a Jones vector from the time-space electric field given in (19),

any Jones vector expressed in the orthonormal basis ( xˆ , yˆ ) as

E = E x xˆ + E y yˆ (25)

A Jones vector defined in the basis ( xˆ , yˆ ) , E ( xˆ , yˆ ) in the may defined from the unitary vector

associated to the horizontal direction, x̂

⎡cos φ − sin φ ⎤ ⎡ cosτ j sin τ ⎤

E ( xˆ , yˆ ) = Ae jα ⎢ xˆ

cos φ ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ j sin τ cosτ ⎥⎦

(26)

⎣ sin φ

This expression may be further developed

⎡cos φ − sin φ ⎤ ⎡ cosτ j sin τ ⎤ ⎡e − jα 0 ⎤

E ( xˆ , yˆ ) = A⎢ ⎢ ⎥ xˆ

cos φ ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ j sin τ cosτ ⎥⎦ ⎣ 0

(27)

⎣ sin φ e jα ⎦

11

What is Polarization?

⎡ ⎛ π⎞ ⎛ π ⎞⎤

⎢cos⎜ φ + 2 ⎟ − sin⎜ φ + 2 ⎟⎥ ⎡ cosτ − j sin τ ⎤ ⎡e − jα 0 ⎤

E ⊥( xˆ , yˆ ) = A⎢ ⎝ ⎠ ⎝ ⎠⎥

⎢ ⎢ ⎥ xˆ

cosτ ⎥⎦ ⎣ 0

(28)

⎢ sin⎛⎜ φ + π ⎞⎟ cos⎛⎜ φ + π ⎞⎟ ⎥ ⎣− j sin τ e jα ⎦

⎢⎣ ⎝ 2⎠ ⎝ 2 ⎠ ⎥⎦

or

⎡cos φ − sin φ ⎤ ⎡ cosτ j sin τ ⎤ ⎡e − jα 0 ⎤

E ⊥( xˆ , yˆ ) = A⎢ ⎢ ⎥ yˆ

cos φ ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ j sin τ cosτ ⎥⎦ ⎣ 0

(29)

⎣ sin φ e jα ⎦

The matrices associated to the φ ,τ , α angular variables

0 ⎤

[U (φ )] = ⎡⎢ [U (τ )] = ⎡⎢ [U (α )] = ⎢e ⎥ xˆ

cos φ ⎥⎦ cosτ ⎥⎦

(30)

⎣ sin φ ⎣ j sin τ ⎣ 0 e jα ⎦

belong to the group of (2×2) Special Unitary complex matrices SU(2) and have the following

important properties :

- [U ] = +1

- [U ]−1 = [U ]†

- [U ( x)]−1 = [U (− x)]

Two Jones vectors, u and v with unitary norms, form a polarization basis if they result from

the transformation of the ( xˆ, yˆ ) basis

u = [U (φ )][U (τ )][U (α )]xˆ and v = [U (φ )][U (τ )][U (α )] yˆ (31)

Or equivalently if

u = [U (φ )][U (τ )][U (α )]xˆ and v = [U (φ + π )][U (−τ )][U (α )]xˆ (32)

It can be remarked that a polarization basis can uniquely defined by a single vector

u = [U (φ ,τ , α )]xˆ , provided that the second element of the basis v verifies v = u ⊥ .

One has to point out that the definition of a polarization basis provided in (31) and (32)

requires that both elements of the basis are constructed using the same absolute phase value

α . This condition is not necessary for u and v to be orthogonal but may involve important

problems for the analysis of polarimetric response if it is not respected.

Example :

Let R be the Jones vector associated to a right circular polarization

π 1 ⎡1 ⎤

R = [U (φ = 0)][U (τ = − )][U (α = 0)]xˆ = ⎢ ⎥ (33)

4 2 ⎣− j ⎦

Then the other element of the orthonormal basis is

π π 1 ⎡− j ⎤

R ⊥ = [U (φ = + )][U (τ = + )][U (α = 0)]xˆ = ⎢ ⎥ (34)

2 4 2⎣1 ⎦

12

What is Polarization?

It can observed that R ⊥ is slightly different from the usual definition of a left circular

polarization Jones vector L

π

1 ⎡1 ⎤ j

L= ⎢ ⎥ = R ⊥ e 2

(35)

2 ⎣ j⎦

Both Jones vector depict a left circular polarization state but R ⊥ only may be coupled to R to

form a polarization in the sense it was defined in (31) and (32).

1.3.3.1 Definition

An efficient way to characterize a Jones vector polarization state is to build its polarization

ratio defined as

Ey E0 y j (δ y −δ y )

ρ= = e (36)

Ex E0 x

The polarization ratio may be written as a function of the polarization ellipse parameters as

sin φ cos τ + j cos φ sin τ

ρ= (37)

cos φ cos τ − j sin φ sin τ

Canonical polarization states can be easily discriminated from the knowledge of ρ :

• Arg ( ρ ) = 0 + mπ

The polarization is linear and the orientation angle is given by φ = tan −1 ( ρ )

π

j

• ρ =e 4

If Arg ( ρ ) < 0 , the polarization is right circular, whereas for Arg ( ρ ) > 0 the polarization is

left circular.

• Otherwise

If Arg ( ρ ) < 0 , the polarization is right elliptic, whereas for Arg ( ρ ) > 0 the polarization is left

elliptic.

13

What is Polarization?

Canonical polarization states are given in the following table

vector uˆ( xˆ , yˆ ) ρ( xˆ , yˆ )

States (φ) ( τ)

⎡1 ⎤

⎢0⎥

Horizontal (H) ⎣ ⎦ 0 0 0

⎡0⎤

⎢1 ⎥ π

Vertical (V) ⎣ ⎦ 2 0 ∝

1 ⎡1⎤

⎢⎥ π

Linear +45° 2 ⎣1⎦ 0 1

4

1 ⎡ −1⎤

⎢ ⎥ 3π

Linear -45° 2 ⎣ 1⎦ 0 -1

4

1 ⎡1 ⎤

⎢ ⎥ π

Left circular 2 ⎣ j⎦ ? j

4

1 ⎡ 1⎤

⎢ ⎥

Right circular 2 ⎣− j ⎦ ? −π -j

4

A polarization map may also be built from the representation of polarization states in a

complex plane.

14

What is Polarization?

ℑ(ρ ( x̂ , ŷ ) )

ℜ(ρ ( x̂ , ŷ ) )

0

Figure 13 Polarization map in the real and imaginary polarization ratio plane.

A Jones vector components may be expressed as a function of its polarization as follows

⎡cos φ cosτ − j sin φ sin τ ⎤ 1 ⎡1⎤

E = Ae jα ⎢ ⎥ = Ae jα ' ⎢ρ ⎥

⎣sin φ cosτ + j cos φ sin τ ⎦

(38)

1+ ρ

2

⎣ ⎦

where the absolute phase term is modified in order to account for the polarization ratio

argument

α ' = α + arg(cos φ cos τ − j sin φ sin τ ) (39)

The orthogonal Jones vector is given by

⎡− sin φ cos τ + j cos φ sin τ ⎤ 1 ⎡1⎤

E ⊥ = Ae jα ⎢ ⎥ = Ae jα '' ⎢ρ ⎥

⎣ cos φ cos τ + j sin φ sin τ ⎦

(40)

1+ ρ⊥

2

⎣ ⊥⎦

With ρ ⊥ the orthogonal polarization ratio defined as

1

ρ⊥ = − (41)

ρ*

A polarization basis (uˆ , vˆ) may then be defined from a vector polarization ratio as follows

u = [U ( ρ )][U (α )]xˆ and v = [U ( ρ )][U (α )] yˆ (42)

with

15

What is Polarization?

1 ⎡1 − ρ*⎤

[U ( ρ )] = [U (φ )][U (τ )] = ⎢ ⎥ (43)

1+ ρ ⎣ρ 1 ⎦

2

A polarization basis can uniquely defined by the polarization ration of a single vector u ,

provided that the second element of the basis v verifies v = u ⊥ .

Note that the use of the following transformation matrix

ρ ⎡1 1⎤

⎢ρ ρ ⊥ ⎥⎦ (44)

1+ ρ

2

⎣

would lead to the same polarization state for v , but to different α phase terms for u and v .

One of the main advantages of radar polarimetry resides in the fact that once a target response

is acquired in a polarization basis, the response in any basis can be obtained from a simple

mathematical transformation and does not require any additional measurements.

A Jones vector, E ( xˆ , yˆ ) = E x xˆ + E y yˆ expressed in the ( xˆ, yˆ ) orthonormal polarimetric basis,

transforms to E ( uˆ ,vˆ ) = E u uˆ + E v vˆ in the (uˆ , vˆ) orthonormal basis, with uˆ given by

uˆ = [U (φ )][U (τ )][U (α )]xˆ , by the way of a Special Unitary transformation.

The coordinates E u and E v can be determined according to the following expression

E ( uˆ ,vˆ ) = E u uˆ + E v vˆ ⇒ E ( xˆ , yˆ ) = E u [U (φ ,τ , α )] xˆ + E u [U (φ ,τ , α )] yˆ = E x xˆ + E y yˆ

(45)

⇒ E u = [U (φ ,τ , α )] −1 E x and E v = [U (φ ,τ , α )] −1 E y

Finally

E ( uˆ ,vˆ ) = [U ( xˆ , yˆ ) →( uˆ ,vˆ ) ] E ( xˆ , yˆ ) with

(46)

[U ( xˆ , yˆ )→( uˆ ,vˆ ) ] = [U (φ ,τ , α )] −1 = [U ( −α )][U ( −τ )][U ( −φ )]

Similarly a change of polarimetric basis from ( aˆ , bˆ) to (uˆ , vˆ) can be operated using a

transformation matrix as follows

aˆ = [U (φ a ,τ a , α a )]xˆ = [U a ]xˆ

⇒ uˆ = [U u ][U a ] −1 aˆ ⇒ E (uˆ ,vˆ ) = [U a ][U u ] −1 E (uˆ ,vˆ ) (47)

ˆu = [U (φ u ,τ u ,α u )]xˆ = [U u ]xˆ

Note that transformation matrices can also be built from the polarization ratio as shown in the

former paragraph.

16

What is Polarization?

In the previous section, we presented the representation of the polarization state of a plane

monochromatic electric field by means of the complex Jones vector. As it can be observed in

(20), the Jones vector is determined by two complex quantities. Consequently, if the goal of a

given system is to measure the Jones vector of the received wave, this system must record the

amplitude and the phase of the incoming wave.

The availability of coherent systems able to measure the amplitude and phase of the incoming

waves is relatively recent. In the past, only non-coherent systems were available. These

systems are only able to measure the power of an incoming wave. Consequently, it was

necessary to characterize the polarization of a wave only by power measurements. This

characterization is carried out by the so-called Stokes vector.

Given the Jones vector E of a given wave, we can create the hermitian product as follows

T* ⎡ E E* Ex E *y ⎤

E⋅E = ⎢ x x* ⎥ (48)

⎢⎣ E y Ex E y E *y ⎥⎦

giving as a result a 2×2 hermitian matrix. At this point, if we consider the Pauli group of

matrices

⎡1 0 ⎤

σ0 = ⎢ ⎥ (49)

⎣0 1 ⎦

⎡1 0 ⎤

σ1 = ⎢ ⎥ (50)

⎣0 −1⎦

⎡0 1⎤

σ2 = ⎢

0⎥⎦

(51)

⎣1

⎡0 − j⎤

σ3 = ⎢

0 ⎥⎦

(52)

⎣j

It is possible to decompose (48) as follows

1 1⎡ g +g g 2 − jg3 ⎤

E⋅E

T*

= { g0σ 0 + g1σ1 + g 2σ 2 + g3σ 3} = ⎢ 0 1

g 0 − g1 ⎥⎦

(53)

2 2 ⎣ g 2 + jg3

where the parameters {g0, g1, g2, g3} receive the name of Stokes parameters. From (53), the

Stokes vector, denoted by gE

⎡ E 2+ E 2⎤

⎡ g0 ⎤ ⎢ ⎥

x y

⎢g ⎥ ⎢ E 2 − E 2 ⎥

gE = ⎢ 1 ⎥ = ⎢

x y ⎥

⎢ ⎥ (54)

⎢ g2 ⎥

⎢ ⎥ ⎢ {

2ℜ Ex E *y ⎥ }

⎣⎢ g3 ⎦⎥ ⎢ * ⎥

{

⎣⎢ −2ℑ Ex E y ⎦⎥ }

17

What is Polarization?

g 02 = g12 + g 22 + g 32 (55)

The relation given at (55) establishes that in the set {g0, g1, g2, g3} there are only three

independent parameters. The Stokes parameter g0 is always equal to the total power (density)

of the wave; g1 is equal to the total power in the linear horizontal or vertical polarized

components; g2 is equal to the power in the linearly polarized components at tilt angles ψ=45

degrees or 135 degrees and g3 is equal to the power in the left-handed and right-handed

circular polarized component in the plane wave. If any of the parameters {g0, g1, g2, g3} has a

non-zero value, it indicates the presence of a polarized component in the plane wave.

The Stokes parameters are sufficient to characterize the magnitude and the relative phase, and

hence, the polarization of a wave. As it can be observed in (54), the Stokes parameters can be

obtained from only power measurements. Consequently, the Stokes vector is capable to

characterize the polarization state of a wave by 4 real parameters. The next section presents

the relations existing between the Stokes parameters {g0, g1, g2, g3} and the polarization

ellipse parameters.

1.4.2 Relation between the Stokes vector and the polarization ellipse

⎡ g 0 ⎤ ⎡ E0 x + E0 y ⎤

2 2

⎢ g ⎥ ⎢ E2 − E2 ⎥

gE = ⎢ 1⎥

= ⎢ 0x 0y ⎥

(56)

⎢ g 2 ⎥ ⎢ 2 E0 x E0 y cos (δ ) ⎥

⎢ ⎥ ⎢ ⎥

⎣⎢ g3 ⎦⎥ ⎢⎣ 2 E0 x E0 y sin (δ ) ⎥⎦

If now, we consider the expression presented at (15) and (16), the Stokes vector can be

written as a function of: the polarization ellipse orientation angle φ and ellipse aperture angle τ

and the polarization ellipse aperture A

⎡ A ⎤

⎢ A cos 2φ cos 2τ ⎥

( ) ( )⎥

gE = ⎢

⎢ A sin ( 2φ ) cos ( 2τ ) ⎥

(57)

⎢ ⎥

⎣⎢ A sin ( 2τ ) ⎦⎥

At Section 1.3.2.2, we represented a given Stokes vector as the product of three unitary

matrices belonging to the special unitary SU(2), see (27) and (30). By using the existing

homorphism between the group SU(2) and the group O(3) of real orthogonal matrices, given

by

1

(

⎡⎣O3 ( 2θ ) ⎤⎦ p , q = Tr ⎡⎣U 2 (θ ) ⎤⎦ σ p ⎡⎣U 2 (θ ) ⎤⎦ σ q

2

T*

) (58)

18

What is Polarization?

⎡1 0 0 0 ⎤ ⎡1 0 0 0 ⎤ ⎡1 0 0 0 ⎤

cos ( 2τ ) 0 − sin ( 2τ )

g E = A ⎢ 00 2 cos( 2φ ) − sin ( 2φ ) 0 ⎥ ⎢0 ⎥ ⎢0 1 0 0 ⎥g

sin ( 2φ ) cos ( 2φ ) 0 cos ( 2α ) − sin ( 2α )

⎢ 0

⎥ ⎢ 00 0 1 0

⎥ ⎢0 ⎥ uˆx

⎣0 0 0 0 ⎦⎣ sin ( 2τ ) 0 cos( 2τ ) ⎦ ⎣ 0 0 sin ( 2α ) cos ( 2α ) ⎦

(59)

where g uˆ represents the Stokes vector associated with the horizontal polarization (59) can be

x

rewritten compactly as

g E = A2 ⎡⎣O4 ( 2φ ) ⎤⎦ ⎡⎣O4 ( 2τ ) ⎤⎦ ⎡⎣O4 ( 2α ) ⎤⎦ g uˆ (60)

x

At Section 1.3.2.1 we defined the orthogonal Jones vectors. As observed in (24), the

orthogonality can be established in terms if the angles defining the polarization ellipse.

Consequently, given the Stokes vector of a given polarization state gE, see (57), the

orthogonal Stokes vector is

⎡ A ⎤

⎢ − A cos 2φ cos 2τ ⎥

( ) ( )⎥

gE ⊥ =⎢

⎢ − A sin ( 2φ ) cos ( 2τ ) ⎥

(61)

⎢ ⎥

⎣⎢ − A sin ( 2τ ) ⎦⎥

The Stokes vector for the canonical polarization states are presented in the following formula

vector uˆ( xˆ , yˆ ) gE

States

⎡1 ⎤

⎢1 ⎥

⎡1 ⎤ ⎢ ⎥

⎢0⎥ ⎢0⎥

Horizontal (H) ⎣ ⎦

⎢ ⎥

⎣0⎦

⎡1⎤

⎢ −1⎥

⎡0⎤ ⎢ ⎥

⎢1 ⎥ ⎢0⎥

Vertical (V) ⎣ ⎦

⎢ ⎥

⎣0⎦

19

What is Polarization?

⎡1 ⎤

⎢0⎥

1 ⎡1⎤ ⎢ ⎥

⎢⎥ ⎢1 ⎥

Linear +45° 2 ⎣1⎦

⎢ ⎥

⎣0⎦

⎡1⎤

⎢0⎥

1 ⎡ −1⎤ ⎢ ⎥

⎢ ⎥ ⎢ −1⎥

Linear -45° 2 ⎣ 1⎦

⎢ ⎥

⎣0⎦

⎡1 ⎤

⎢0⎥

1 ⎡1 ⎤ ⎢ ⎥

⎢ ⎥ ⎢0⎥

Left circular 2 ⎣ j⎦

⎢ ⎥

⎣1 ⎦

⎡1⎤

⎢0⎥

1 ⎡ 1⎤ ⎢ ⎥

⎢ ⎥ ⎢0⎥

Right circular 2 ⎣− j ⎦

⎢ ⎥

⎣ −1⎦

As it has been mentioned, the Stokes vector is completely determined by three independent

parameters. Consequently, a three dimensional representation of the Stokes vector is possible.

This representation receives the name of Poincaré sphere.

If we consider the expression for the Stokes vector at (57), it can be observed that the three

parameters {g1, g2, g3} can be considered as the spherical coordinates of a point in a sphere of

radius g0. Figure 14 presents an scheme of this representation. From this figure, it can be

clearly observe which is the effect of the polarization ellipse angles φ and τ, where the

longitude and latitude of the point defining the polarization state are related with 2φ and 2τ.

An interesting aspect to highlight about the Poincaré sphere is the representation of

orthogonal polarization states. Taking into account the expressions presented at (57) and (61)

it can be observed that two orthogonal polarization states are represented by antipodal points

in the Poincaré sphere.

20

What is Polarization?

2φ

z$

gE

g3

2α

0 2τ g2 y$

2τ

g1 2φ

x$

2α

Finally, Figure 15 gives the representation of some canonical polarization states within the

Poincaré sphere.

NORTH POLE

LEFT CIRCULAR

POLARISATION z$ LC

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE

LEFT ELLIPTICAL

POLARISATIONS

-45° 0 +45°

EQUATOR y$

LINEAR H

POLARISATIONS

x$

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE

RIGHT ELLIPTICAL

POLARISATIONS

RC

SOUTH POLE

RIGHT CIRCULAR

POLARISATION

21

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

In the previous chapter of this document, we dealt with the description and the

characterization of electromagnetic waves. As it was shown, one of the main properties of a

transverse electromagnetic wave is the vectorial nature of the electromagnetic field, which is

called polarimetry.

An electromagnetic wave travels in time and space. In this voyaging through the space, it may

happen that the wave can reach a particular target, then interacting with it, see Figure 1. As a

consequence of this interaction, part of the energy carried by the incident wave is absorbed by

the target itself, whereas the rest is reradiated as a new electromagnetic wave. Due to the

interaction with the target, the properties of the reradiated wave can be different from those of

the incident one. Then, the question which rises at this point is if these changes could be

employed to characterize or identify the target. In particular, we are interested in the changes

concerning the polarization of the wave. In the following, we present the way in which the

interaction of an electromagnetic wave and a given target can be represented.

Incident Wave

r r r jk r

E i (r ) = E0i e( i ) Scattered Wave

r r r jk r

E s (r ) = E0s e( s )

Target

Before to define the interaction of electromagnetic waves with the nature, it is necessary to

introduce two important concepts concerning the idea of target, since they will determine the

way in which they shall be characterized. Given a radar configuration as depicted by Figure

1, it may happen the target of interest to be smaller than the coverage of the radar system. In

this situation, we consider the target as an isolated scatterer and from a point of view of power

exchange, this target is characterized by the so-called radar cross section. Nevertheless, we

can find situations in which the target of interest is significantly larger that the coverage

provided by the radar system. In these occasions, it is more convenient to characterize the

1

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

target independently of his extend. Hence, in these situations, the target is described by the so-

called scattering coefficient.

The most fundamental form to describe the interaction of an electromagnetic wave with a

given target is the so-called radar equation. This equation establishes the relation between the

r

power which the target intercepts from the incident electromagnetic wave E i and the power

r

reradiated by the same target in the form of the scattered wave E s . The radar equation

presents the following form

PG A

Pr = t t

σ r2 (1)

4π Rt 4π Rr

2

where Pr represents the power detected at the receiving system. The term

PG

t t

(2)

4π Rt2

r

is determined by the incident field E i and it consists of its power density expressed in terms

of the properties of the transmitting system. The different terms in (2) are: the transmitted

power Pt, the antenna gain Gt and the distance between the system and the target Rt. On the

contrary, the term

Ar

(3)

4π Rr2

contains the parameters concerning the receiving system: the effective aperture of the

receiving antenna Ar and the distance between the target and the receiving system Rr.

The last term in (1), i.e, σ, determines the effects of the target of interest on the balance of

powers established by the radar equation. Since (2) is a power density, i.e., power par unit

area and (3) is dimensionless, the parameter σ has units of area. Consequently, σ consists of an

effective area which characterizes the target. This parameter determines which amount of

power is intercepted from the density (2) by the target and reradiated. This reradiated power is

finally intercepted by the receiving system (3), according to the distance Rt. An important fact

which arises at this point is the way the target reradiates the intercepted power in a given

direction of the space. In order to be independent of this property, the radar cross section shall

be referenced to and idealized isotropic scatterer. Thus, the radar cross section of an object is

the cross section of an equivalent isotropic scatterer that generates the same scattered power

density as the object in the observed direction

rs 2

E

σ = 4π R 2 r 2 = 4π S

2

i

(4)

E

r2

where E represents the intensity of the electromagnetic field and S is the complex scattering

amplitude of the object. The final value of σ is a function of a large number of parameters

which are difficult to consider individually. A first set of these parameters are concerned with

the imaging system:

• Wave frequency f.

2

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

• Imaging configuration, that is, incident (θi,φi) and scattering (θs,φs) directions.

A second set of parameters are related with the target itself

• Object geometrical structure.

• Object dielectrical properties.

Then, the radar cross section σ is able to characterize the target being imaged for a particular

frequency, and imaging system configuration.

The radar equation, as given by (1), is valid for those cases in which the target of interest is

smaller than the radar coverage, that is, a point target. For those targets presenting an extend

larger than the radar coverage, we need a different model to represent the target. In these

situations, a target is represented as an infinite collection of statistically identical point targets.

Figure 2 presents an scheme of this type of targets.

r

As it can be observed in Figure 2, the resulting scattered field E s results from the coherent

addition of the scattered waves from every one of the independent targets which model the

extended scatterer. In order to express the scattering properties of the extended target

independently of its area extend, we considerer every elementary target as being described by

a differential radar cross section dσ. In order to separate the effects of the target extend, we

consider dσ as the product of the averaged radar cross section per unit area σ0 and the

differential area occupied by the target ds. Then, the differential power received by the

systems due to an elementary scatterer can be written as

PG A

dPr = t t

σ 0 ds r 2 (5)

4π Rt 2

4π Rr

Hence, to find the total power received from the extended target we need to integrate over the

illuminated area A0

3

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

PG A

Pr = ∫∫ t t

σ 0 r 2 ds (6)

A0

4π Rt 2

4π Rr

It must be noted that the radar equation at (1) represents a deterministic problem, whereas (6)

considers a statistical problem. Eq. (6) represents the average power returned from the

extended target. Hence, the radar cross section per unit area σ0, or simply scattering

coefficient, is the ratio of the statistically averaged scattered power density to the average

incident power density over the surface of the sphere of radius Rr

rs 2

σ E

4π Rr2

σ0 = = r 2 (7)

A0 A0 Ei

The scattering coefficient σ0 is a dimensionless parameter. As in the case of the radar cross

section, the scattering coefficient is employed to characterize the scattered being imaged by

the radar. This characterization is for a particular frequency f, polarization of the incident and

scattered waves and incident (θi,φi) and scattering (θs,φs) directions.

As it has been shown in the previous section, the characterization of a given scatterer by

means of the radar cross section σ or the scattering coefficient σ0 depends also on the

r

polarization of the incident field E i . As one can observe in (4) and (7), these two coefficients

are expressed as a function of the intensity of the incident and scattered fields. Consequently,

σ and σ0 shall be only sensible to the polarization of the incident fields through the effects the

polarization has over the power of the related electromagnetic waves. Hence, if we denote by

p the polarization of the incident field and by q the polarization of the scattered field, we can

define the following polarization dependent radar cross section and scattering coefficient

respectively

rs 2

E qp 2

σ qp = 4π R 2 r 2 = 4π S qp (8)

i

Eqp

rs 2

σ qp E

4π Rr 2 qp

σ qp0 = = ri 2 (9)

A0 A0 E qp

As it has been shown in the previous two sections, a given target of interest can be

characterized by means of the radar cross section or the scattering coefficient depending on

the nature of the scatterer itself, see (4) and (7). Additionally, in (8) and (9) it has been shown

that these two coefficients depend also on the polarization of the incident and the scattered

electromagnetic fields. A closer look to these expressions reveals that these two coefficients

4

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

depend on the polarization of the electromagnetic fields only through the power associated

with them. Thus, they do not exploit, explicitly, the vectorial nature of polarized

electromagnetic waves. Consequently, in order to take advantage of the polarization of the

electromagnetic fields, that is, their vectorial nature, the scattering process at the target of

interest must be considered as a function of the electromagnetic fields themselves.

In the previous chapter, it was shown that the polarization of a plane, monochromatic, electric

field could be represented by the so-called Jones vector. Additionally, a set of two orthogonal

Jones vectors form a polarization basis, in which, any polarization state of a given

electromagnetic wave can be expressed. Therefore, given the Jones vectors of the incident and

the scattered waves, E i and E s respectively, the scattering process occurring at the target of

interest is expressed as follows

e − jkr ⎡ ⎤ e − jkr ⎡ S ⊥⊥ S ⊥ // ⎤ i

ES = S E i

= E

r ⎢⎣ S // ⊥ S //// ⎥⎦

(10)

r ⎣ ( ⊥ ,// ) ⎦

where the matrix [S(⊥,//)] receives the name of scattering matrix and the entries of this matrix

Spq, for p, q∈(⊥,//), are the so-called complex scattering coefficients or complex scattering

amplitudes. The diagonals elements of the scattering matrix receive the name of co-polar

terms, since they relate the same polarization for the incident and the scattered fields.

Nevertheless, the off-diagonal elements are known as cross-polar terms as they relate

orthogonal polarization states. Finally, the term e − jkr r takes into account the propagation

effects both, in amplitude and phase. It must be taken into account that the relation expressed

by (10) is only valid for the far field zone, where the planar wave assumption is conisdered

for the incident and the scattered fields. Considering (8), the elements of the scattering matrix

can be related with the radar cross section of a given target as follows

σ qp

p, q ∈ ( ⊥, // )

2

Sqp = (11)

4π

As it can be deduced from the previous equation, the characterization of a given target by

means of the scattering matrix allows the possibility to explore the phase information

provided by the phase of complex scattering coefficients, and no only the intensity or

amplitude. As one can observe, the polarimetric scattering equation presented at (10) involves

the Jones vectors of the incident and the scattered fields, which characterize their polarization

properties in a given coordinates systems. In order to be correct, these two Jones vectors must

be expressed within the same coordinates reference. As a result, the scattering matrix shall be

associated to a particular coordinates system. In (10), we consider the coordinates system

centered at the target. Hence, the basis (⊥,//) refers to a plane respect the coordinates systems

centered in the target to which the fields and the scattering matrix are referred.

The following example demonstrates the importance of the phase parameters. Let’s consider a

trihedral and a dihedral. These two targets present the radar cross section coefficients and

scattering matrices given in Figure 3 in the polarization basis formed with the horizontal and

vertical polarization states, which are parallel to the x̂ and ŷ axis, respectively. As it can be

concluded from Figure 3, the trihedral and the dihedral cannot be differentiated in terms of

the radar cross section coefficients, whereas they are seen as different objects if they are

analyzed by means of the corresponding scattering matrices. The conclusion which can be

5

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

extracted at this point is that polarimetry opens the door to consider phase measurements to

characterize the targets.

ŷ ŷ

x̂ x̂

Trihedral Dihedral

⎡σ xx σ xy ⎤ ⎡1 0 ⎤ σ

⎡ xx σ xy ⎤ ⎡1 0 ⎤

⎢σ ⎥ = 4π ⎢ ⎥ ⎢σ ⎥ = 4π ⎢ ⎥

⎣ yx σ yy ⎦ ⎣0 1 ⎦ ⎣ yx σ yy ⎦ ⎣0 1 ⎦

⎡1 0 ⎤ ⎡1 0 ⎤

⎡ S( x , y ) ⎤ = ⎢ ⎡ S( x , y ) ⎤ = ⎢

⎣ ⎦ 0 1⎥ ⎣ ⎦ 0 −1⎥

⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦

Figure 3 Trihedral and dihedral polarimetric characterization.

Since the scattering matrix [S(⊥,//)] is employed to characterize a given target, it can be

parameterized as follows

⎡ S⊥ // e ( ⊥// ⊥⊥ ) ⎤

j ϕ −ϕ

− jkr ⎡ S⊥⊥ e jϕ⊥⊥ S ⊥ // e jϕ⊥// ⎤ e− jkr e jϕ⊥⊥ S⊥⊥

⎡ S( ⊥ ,// ) ⎤ = e ⎢ ⎥ = ⎢ ⎥

⎣ ⎦ r jϕ jϕ

r 3 ⎢ S // ⊥ e j (ϕ// ⊥ −ϕ⊥⊥ ) S //// e j (ϕ //// −ϕ⊥⊥ ) ⎥

⎢⎣ S // ⊥ e // ⊥ S //// e //// ⎥⎦ 1424 ⎣

(12)

Absolute Phase Term 144444 42444444 3⎦

Relative Scattering Matrix

The absolute phase term in (12) is not considered as an independent parameter since it

presents an arbitrary value due to its dependence on the distance between the radar and the

target. Consequently, it is assumed that the scattering matrix can be parameterized by 7

independent parameters: the amplitudes {|S⊥⊥|, |S⊥//|, |S//⊥|, |S////|} and the relative phases {(ϕ⊥//-

ϕ⊥⊥), (ϕ//⊥-ϕ⊥⊥),(ϕ////-ϕ⊥⊥)}. As a conclusion, a given target of interest is determined by 7

independent parameters in the most general case and an absolute value.

It is important, at this point, to analyze some particular aspects about the definition of the

matrix [S(⊥,//)] and the relation about the different coordinates systems which can be defined to

describe the scattering process characterized in (10).

As it was already highlighted in the previous two sections of this chapter, the radar cross

section and the scattering coefficients depend on the direction of the incident and the scattered

waves. When considering the matrix [S(⊥,//)], the analysis of this dependence is of extreme

importance since it also involves the definition of the polarization of the incident and the

scattered fields. Since (10) considers the polarized electromagnetic waves themselves, it is

mandatory to assume a frame in which the polarization is defined. There exist two principal

conventions concerning the framework where the polarimetric scattering process is

considered: Forward Scatter Alignment (FSA) and Backscatter Alignment (BSA), see Figure

4. In both cases, the electric fields of the incident and the scattered waves are expressed in

local coordinates systems centered on the transmitting and receiving antennas, respectively.

6

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

All coordinate systems are defined in terms if a global coordinate system centered inside the

target of interest.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Figure 4 Reference frameworks: (a) FSA, (b) Bistatic BSA and (c) Monostatic BSA.

The FSA convention, see Figure 4a, also called wave-oriented since it is defined relative to

the propagating wave, is normally considered in bistatic problems, that it, in those

configurations in which the transmitter and the receiver are not located at the same spatial

position.

The bistatic BSA convention framework, see Figure 4b, is defined, on the contrary, respect to

the radar antennas in accordance with the IEEE standard. The advantage of the BSA

convention is that for a monostatic configuration, also called backscattering configuration,

that is, when the transmitting and receiving antennas are collocated, the coordinated systems

of the two antennas coincide, see Figure 4c. This configuration is preferred in the radar

polarimetry community. In the monostatic case, the scattering matrix in the FSA convention,

[S(⊥,//)]FSA, can be related with the same matrix referenced to the monostatic BSA convention

[S(⊥,//)]BSA as follows

⎡ −1 0⎤

⎡ S( ⊥,// ) ⎤ = ⎢ ⎥ ⎡⎣ S( ⊥,// ) ⎤⎦ FSA (13)

⎣ ⎦ BSA

⎣ 0 1 ⎦

As it has been mentioned previously, in the radar polarimetry community, the monostatic

BSA convention (backscattering) is considered as the framework to characterize the scattering

7

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

process. The reason to select this configuration is due to fact that the majority of the existing

polarimetric radar systems operate with the same antenna for transmission and reception. One

important property of this configuration, for reciprocal targets, is reciprocity, which states that

[ S⊥ // ]BSA = [ S// ⊥ ]BSA (14)

[ S⊥ // ]FSA = − [ S// ⊥ ]FSA (15)

Then, the formalization of the scattering process given by (10), in the monostatic case under

the BSA convention, reduces to

e − jkr ⎡ ⎤ e − jkr ⎡ S ⊥⊥ S ⊥ // ⎤ i

ES = S E i

= E

r ⎢⎣ S ⊥ // S //// ⎥⎦

(16)

r ⎣ ( ⊥ ,// ) ⎦

⎡ S⊥ // e ( ⊥// ⊥⊥ ) ⎤

j ϕ −ϕ

− jkr ⎡ S⊥⊥ e jϕ⊥⊥ S ⊥ // e jϕ⊥// ⎤ e− jkr e jϕ⊥⊥ S⊥⊥

⎡ S( ⊥ ,// ) ⎤ = e ⎢ ⎥= ⎢ ⎥

⎣ ⎦ r jϕ ⊥ // jϕ

r 3 ⎢ S ⊥ // e j (ϕ⊥// −ϕ⊥⊥ ) S //// e j (ϕ //// −ϕ⊥⊥ ) ⎥

⎣⎢ S⊥ // e S //// e //// ⎦⎥ 1424 (17)

⎣

Absolute Phase Term 144444 42444444 3⎦

Relative Scattering Matrix

The main consequence of (17) is that in the backscattering direction, a given target is no

longer characterized by 7 independent parameters, but by 5. These are: the amplitudes {|S⊥⊥|,

|S⊥//|, |S//⊥|} and the relative phases {(ϕ⊥//-ϕ⊥⊥),(ϕ////-ϕ⊥⊥)} and one additional absolute phase.

As it was indicated at the beginning of Section 2.1.1, a central parameter when considering

the scattering process occurring at a given target consists of the scattered power. For single

polarization systems, the scattered power is determined by means of the radar cross section or

the scattering coefficient. Nevertheless, a polarimetric radar has to be considered as a multi

channel system. Consequently, in order to determine the scattered power, it is necessary to

consider all the data channels, that is, all the elements of the scattering matrix. The total

scattered power, in the case of a polarimetric radar system is know as span, being defined in

the most general case as

( )

SPAN ⎡⎣ S( ⊥,// ) ⎤⎦ = trace ⎛⎜ ⎡⎣ S( ⊥,// ) ⎤⎦ ⎡⎣ S( ⊥ ,// ) ⎤⎦ ⎞⎟ = S⊥⊥ + S⊥ // + S // ⊥ + S ////

T* 2 2 2 2

(18)

⎝ ⎠

where trace(.) represents the trace of a matrix, consisting of the addition of the elements of the

principal diagonal. In the backscattering case, due to the reciprocity theorem, the span reduces

to

( )

SPAN ⎡⎣ S( ⊥ ,// ) ⎤⎦ = S ⊥⊥ + 2 S ⊥ // + S ////

2 2 2

(19)

8

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

The main property of the span is that it is polarimetrically invariable, that is, it does not

depend on the polarization basis employed to describe the polarization of the electromagnetic

waves.

Now, if we consider the definition (11) into (19) we get

( )

SPAN ⎡⎣ S( ⊥ ,// ) ⎤⎦ = 4π (σ ⊥⊥ + 2σ ⊥ // + σ //// ) (20)

(dB) (dB) (dB)

-30dB -15dB 0dB

Span

Figure 5 Intensities of the elements of the scattering matrix measured in the basis (h,v) and the resulting span.

Therefore, the span presents the same limitations as the radar cross section in order to

represent the polarimetric information contained in the scattering matrix, that is, the important

9

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

Additionally, since it is polarimetrically invariable, it does not contain polarimetric

information at all.

One of the main applications of the span is to present the multidimensional information

provided by the scattering matrix in a single image. But, as shown in the previous paragraph,

this image does not contain any polarimetric information at all. Figure 5 presents an example

of the span image.

In the previous section, we showed that it was possible to present part of the information

contained in the scattering matrix [S(⊥,//)] in a single image by means of the span of the

scattering matrix, but at the expense to loose all the polarimetric information. In what it

follows, we introduce two alternatives to represent part of the multidimensional information

provided by the scattering matrix in a single image. These two alternatives are based on the

decomposition RBG of color images.

The RGB color model is an additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are

combined in various ways to create other colors. The very idea for the model itself and the

abbreviation "RGB" come from the three primary colors in additive light models. The concept

to retain is that we can create any color of the spectra by combining the three primary colors:

red, green and blue light, that is, color can be considered as a three dimensional space. Figure

6 presents the color space, coded in the RGB base.

Blue

White

Green

Red

Consequently, three different parameters can be represented in a single color image by coding

each initial parameters as one color of the RGB space. Therefore, the color in the resulting

image can be interpreted in terms of the three selectedparameters.

The color representation presented above is now considered to represent the polarimetric

information provided by the scattering matrix [S(⊥,//)]. The lexicographic color-coded

10

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

direction, as the dimensions of the color space. A possible codification could be

S⊥⊥ → Red

2

2 S⊥ // → Green

2

(21)

S //// → Blue

2

despite any other codification is also valuable. Again, it must be mention that, since we are

considering the intensity of the different elements of the scattering matrix, this codification is

not able to reflect the information that can be provided by the relative phases of elements.

Representation

scattering matrix which takes into account the information provided by the relatives phases of

the different entries of the matrix. Any 2×2 symmetric matrix can be parameterized as a

function of three parameters {a, b, c} as follows

⎡ S11 S12 ⎤ ⎡ a + b c ⎤

⎢ ⎥ =⎢

a − b ⎥⎦

(22)

⎣ S12 S 22 ⎦ ⎣ c

If we now consider the representation of the scattering matrix in the backscattering case

presented in (16), we can obtain the following equivalences

S ⊥⊥ + S ////

a=

2

S − S //// (23)

b = ⊥⊥

2

c = 2 S ⊥ //

The Pauli color-coded representation considers the codification in color of the intensity of the

parameters in (23) as follows

b → Red

2

c → Green

2

(24)

a → Blue

2

Finally, Figure 8a presents an example or the Pauli Color coded representation of the image

channels presented in Figure 5.

11

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

Basis

As it was demonstrated in the preceding chapter, the Jones vector corresponding to a given

electromagnetic field can be expressed in an orthonormal basis (⊥,//) as

E = E⊥ ⊥ˆ + E// //ˆ (25)

where the unitary vectors ⊥ ˆ and //ˆ form the so-called polarization basis. If now, we consider

the polarimetric scattering equation, see (10), the Jones vectors corresponding to the incident

and the scattered waves, E i and E s respectively, are expressed in the orthonormal basis

(⊥,//). Consequently, the scattering matrix [S(⊥,//)] specifies how the target transforms the

polarization of the incident field to the scattered field when both are expressed in the basis

(⊥,//). As a result, it is said that the scattering matrix [S(⊥,//)] has been acquired with respect to

the polarization basis (⊥,//).

Polarization Basis

The scattering properties of a given target, as demonstrated, are contained within the

scattering matrix [S(⊥,//)], which, as shown previously, is measured in the particular

polarization basis (⊥,//). Since, there exist an infinite number of orthonormal polarization

bases, the question raising at this point is that whether it is possible or not to infer the

polarimetric properties of the given target in any polarization basis from the response

measured at a particular basis, for instance (⊥,//). This question presents an affirmative

answer. The possibility to synthesize any polarimetric response of a given target from its

measurement in a particular orthonormal basis represents the most important property of

polarimetric systems in comparison with single-polarization systems. The most important

consequence of this process is that the amount of information about a given scatterer can be

increased, allowing a better characterization and study. This polarization synthesis process is

based on the concept of change of polarization basis presented in the previous chapter. In

what it follows, we shall consider the polarization synthesis process in the backscattering

direction or monostatic configuration of a radar system.

12

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

Target

ri

Incident Wave

r r i ( jki r ) [S ]

E (r ) = E0e

kˆi

kˆs = − kˆi Scattered Wave

rs r r s ( jk r ) r − jk r

E (r ) = E0 e s

= E0s e( i )

TRANSMITTER

RECEIVER

Figure 7 Polarization synthesis process in the backscattering direction.

necessary to analyze the scattering process given by (10) with respect to the direction of

propagation of the incident and the scattered fields. As observed in Figure 7, the incident

field propagates in the direction given by the unitary vector kˆi , whereas the scattered one

propagates in the opposite direction, given by kˆ . Consequently, this difference in the

s

propagation direction must be taken into account when defining the polarization state of the

wave. Given a Jones vector propagating in the direction k̂ , the Jones vector of the same wave,

but which propagates in the direction −k̂ is obtained as

()

kˆ → − kˆ E kˆ = E * − kˆ ( ) (26)

From now, we shall not consider the scattering matrix referred to the coordinates system

centered at the target, but in the axis coordinate centered in the transmitting/receiving system.

Consider a polarimetric radar system as depicted by Figure 7, which transmits the

electromagnetic waves in the following orthonormal basis (A, A⊥). In this particular basis, the

incident and scattered fields are related by the scattering matrix as follows

⎡ S AA S AA⊥ ⎤ i

E(sA, A⊥ ) = ⎢ E = ⎡S ⎤ Ei

S A⊥ A⊥ ⎥⎦ ( A, A⊥ ) ⎣ ( A, A⊥ ) ⎦ ( A, A⊥ )

(27)

⎣ S AA⊥

As shown in the previous chapter, given the Jones vector measured in a particular basis, for

instance (A, A⊥), it is possible to derive it in any other polarization basis (B, B⊥) by means of

the following simple mathematical transformation

E( B , B⊥ ) = ⎡⎣U ( A, A⊥ ) a ( B , B⊥ ) ⎤⎦ E( A, A⊥ ) (28)

Then, if we consider (28) for the incident Jones vector in (27), we get

E(iB , B⊥ ) = ⎡⎣U ( A, A⊥ ) a ( B , B⊥ ) ⎤⎦ E(i A, A⊥ ) (29)

13

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

In order to apply the transformation basis procedure to the scattered field E(sA, A⊥ ) we need to

consider that it propagates in the opposite direction as the incident field E(i A, A⊥ ) . Hence, in

order to consider both fields in the same frame of reference, that is, their polarizations are

referred to the same coordinate system we need to consider (26). As a result, the

transformation basis procedure applies to the scattered field as follows

*

E(sB , B⊥ ) = ⎡⎣U ( A, A⊥ ) a ( B , B⊥ ) ⎤⎦ E(sA, A⊥ ) (31)

*

E(sA, A⊥ ) = ⎡⎣U ( B , B⊥ ) a ( A, A⊥ ) ⎤⎦ E(sB , B⊥ ) (32)

Now, introducing the results of (30) and (32) into (27) we get

*

⎡U ( B , B ) a ( A, A ) ⎤ E(sB , B ) = ⎡ S( A, A ) ⎤ ⎡U ( B , B ) a ( A, A ) ⎤ E(iB , B ) (33)

⎣ ⊥ ⊥ ⎦ ⊥ ⎣ ⊥ ⎦⎣ ⊥ ⊥ ⎦ ⊥

−1

E(sB , B⊥ ) = ⎜⎛ ⎣⎡U ( B , B⊥ ) a ( A, A⊥ ) ⎦⎤ ⎟⎞ ⎣⎡ S( A, A⊥ ) ⎦⎤ ⎣⎡U ( B , B⊥ ) a ( A, A⊥ ) ⎦⎤ E(iB , B⊥ )

*

(34)

⎝ ⎠

−1 *T

14

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

(b) |Saa+ Sbb| |Saa- Sbb| |Sab| (c) |Sll+ Srr| |Sll- Srr| |Slr|

Figure 8 Polarization synthesis. (a) Measured response at the linear polarization basis (h,v). (b)

Synthesis of the response in the linear basis rotated 45 degree (a,b). (c) Synthesis in the circular

polarization basis (l,r).

T

E(sB , B⊥ ) = ⎡⎣U ( B , B⊥ ) a ( A, A⊥ ) ⎤⎦ ⎡⎣ S( A, A⊥ ) ⎤⎦ ⎡⎣U ( B , B⊥ ) a ( A, A⊥ ) ⎤⎦ E(iB , B⊥ ) (35)

T

⎡ S( B , B ) ⎤ = ⎡U ( B , B ) a ( A, A ) ⎤ ⎡ S( A, A ) ⎤ ⎡U ( B , B ) a ( A, A ) ⎤ (36)

⎣ ⊥ ⎦ ⎣ ⊥ ⊥ ⎦ ⎣ ⊥ ⎦⎣ ⊥ ⊥ ⎦

The transformation expressed in (36) receives the name of con-similarity transformation. This

transformation allows to synthesize the scattering matrix in an arbitrary basis (B, B⊥), from its

measure in the basis (A, A⊥).

If instead of an arbitrary basis, we consider the linear orthogonal polarization basis ( xˆ, yˆ ) , the

transformation matrix from ( xˆ, yˆ ) to an arbitrary elliptical basis can be parameterized as

⎡U ( xˆ , yˆ ) a ( A , A ) ⎤ = ⎡U (φ ) ⎤ ⎡U (τ ) ⎤ ⎡U (α )⎤

⎣ ⊥ // ⎦ ⎣ ⎦⎣ ⎦⎣ ⎦

⎡cos φ − sin φ ⎤ ⎡ cosτ j sin τ ⎤ ⎡e− jα 0 ⎤ (37)

=⎢ ⎥⎢ ⎥⎢ ⎥

⎣ sin φ cos φ ⎦ ⎣ j sin τ cosτ ⎦ ⎣ 0 e− jα ⎦

(36) to synthesize the polarimetric response at different polarization basis. The polarimetric

information is represented by means of the Pauli color-coded representation. The original

polarimetric set, presented in Figure 8a is obtained in the linear polarization basis (h,v),

where h stands for the horizontal polarization and v for the vertical polarization. Using (37)

the response to two different polarization basis is synthesized. Figure 8b presents the

response to the orthonormal basis (a,b) where a indicates the linear polarization at 45 degrees

15

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

and b the linear polarization at -45 degrees. Finally, Figure 8c shows the response to the

circular polarization basis (l,r), where l refers to the left circular polarization and r to the right

circular polarization.

Signature

synthesize the polarimetric response just in two alternative polarization bases: the 45 degrees

rotated linear basis (a, b) and the circular polarization basis (l, r). Nevertheless, this section

aims to exploit all the information which can be extracted from this transformation through

the exploration of the space of all possible polarization bases. The objective of this process is

to present a new way to characterize a given scatterer.

Figure 9 presents the scheme of a general polarimetric radar employed to measure a given

target, characterized by a particular scattering matrix. In this scheme, the Jones vector A

refers to the polarization emitted by the transmitting system and B indicates the Jones vector

containing the polarization with respect to which the receiving antenna receives the scattered

field E . In this context, the power received at the receiving system is obtained by means of

2

P = α BT E (38)

where α contains all those terms which do not depend on the polarization of the antennas A

and B . Using the characterization of the target by means of the scattering matrix, it is

possible to rewrite (38) as follows

Target

[S ]

E

A

B

TRANSMITTER RECEIVER

Figure 9 General polarimetric system configuration.

PAB = α BT [ S ] A

2

(39)

16

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

• The co-polarized power. In this configuration, we assume that the transmitting and

receiving antennas are characterized by the same polarization state. Hence, (39) turns

out to be

PCO = α AT [ S ] A

2

(40)

• The cross-polarized power. In this case, it is assumed that the receiver antenna

receives with the orthogonal polarization of the transmitting system. Thus, we write

(39) as

PX = α A⊥T [ S ] A

2

(41)

The co- and cross-polarized powers can be generates synthetically, since, given the linear

polarization basis ( xˆ, yˆ ) , we can write an arbitrary polarization state

A=⎢ xˆ

cos φ ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ j sin τ cosτ ⎥⎦

(42)

⎣ sin φ

and

⎡ ⎛ π⎞ ⎛ π ⎞⎤

⎢cos ⎜ φ + 2 ⎟ − sin ⎜ φ + 2 ⎟ ⎥ ⎡ cos ( −τ ) j sin ( −τ ) ⎤

⎝ ⎠ ⎝ ⎠⎥

A=⎢ ⎢ ⎥ xˆ (43)

⎢ ⎛ π⎞ ⎛ π ⎞ ⎥ ⎣ j sin ( −τ ) cos ( −τ ) ⎦

⎢ sin ⎜ φ + ⎟ cos ⎜ φ + ⎟ ⎥

⎣ ⎝ 2⎠ ⎝ 2⎠⎦

Consequently, we can obtain the co- and cross-polarized powers, PCO and PX, as a function of

the angles φ and τ, that is, the ellipse orientation and the ellipse aperture which define the

polarization ellipse of an electromagnetic wave. We have not considered here the phase term

α.

Section 2.5 presents the polarization signatures for the canonical scattering mechanisms.

As it has been shown in the previous section of this chapter, the received power at the receiver

system varies according to the polarization of the transmitted and incident waves, and on the

characteristics of the target under study through its scattering matrix [S], (39). In the case of

the polarization signature, we particularized the study of the received power to two special

cases. On the one hand, we have considered the situation in which the transmitting and

receiving systems employ the same polarization. On the other hand, the case in which both

systems use orthogonal polarizations has been analyzed. The polarization signatures for the

co-polar and cross-polar configurations, given by (40) and (41) respectively, explore all the

17

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

be also performed by studying the so culled characteristic polarization states. These states are

defined as such wave polarization states giving as a result maximum or minimum received

powers.

Given a particular polarization state for an electromagnetic wave, the corresponding Jones

vector can be represented in terms of the polarization ratio ρ as presented in the previous

chapter. Then for the Jones vector A

e − jα

⎡1⎤

A= ⎢ ⎥

1 + ρ ⎣ρ ⎦

2 (44)

⎡− ρ * ⎤

e + jα

A⊥ =

2 ⎢ ⎥ (45)

1+ ρ ⎣ 1 ⎦

⎡S S XY ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ S XX SYY ⎥⎦

(46)

⎣ XY

2

PCO = α S XX + 2 ρ S XY + ρ 2 SYY (47)

( )S

2

PX = α ρ * S XX − 1 − ρ + ρ SYY

2

XY (48)

Then, in order to derive the characteristic polarization states, we need to calculate the

following derivatives

∂PCO

=0 (49)

∂ρ

∂PX

=0 (50)

∂ρ

As one can observe, (47) and (48) consist of bilinear forms. Consequently, the processes

presented at (49) and (50) to derive the characteristic polarization states shall present two

solutions. The next two sections analyze the characteristics states resulting from (49) and (50).

The co-polar power PCO presents two polarizations states resulting in maximum received

power. These two states are called COPOL MAX and are represented by the pair of

polarization states (K,L). Then,

PKK ⇒ Global Maximum (51)

PLL ⇒ Local Maximum (52)

18

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

Additionally, the co-polar power PCO has two characteristic polarization states for which the

received power is zero. This pair of polarization states are named COPOL NULLS and are

represented by (O1,O2). These polarization states give as a result

POO11 = 0 (53)

P O2

O2 =0 (54)

The main characteristic of these states is that they are not mutually orthogonal.

In the case of the cross-polar power PX, it is possible to find three pairs of orthogonal

polarization states which result into characteristic polarization states.

The first pair of polarization states results into maximum received power at the receiver

system. This pair of polarization states receives de name of XPOL MAX and are represented

by the pair (C1,C2). These states result into

PCC11⊥ ⇒ Global Maximum (55)

PCC22⊥ ⇒ Local Maximum (56)

The second pair of polarization states gives null revived power. This set of polarization states

is known as XPOL NULL and are represented by (X1,X2), resulting into

PXX11⊥ = 0 (57)

PXX22⊥ = 0 (58)

As first established by Kennaugh, the XPOL NULL and the COPOL MAX represent the same

pair of polarization states. Consequently, (X1,X2) consist also in orthogonal polarization states.

Finally, in the case of the cross-polar power, it is possible to define a third pair of

polarizations states which can be taken as characteristics. These polarization states result into

a minimum received power and are know as XPOL SADDLE. They are represented by

(D1,D2) and

PDD11⊥ ⇒ Global Minimum (59)

P D2⊥

D2 ⇒ Local Minimum (60)

In the former chapter, we presented the representation of a given polarization state into the so-

called Poincare Sphere. In the following, we are going to make use of this representation to

show that the characteristic polarization states pairs given previously present a particular

shape into the Poincare sphere. Figure 10 presents the representation of the characteristic

polarization states within the Poincare sphere.

19

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

V C1

O1

LX 2

D1 D2

U

O2

X1

K

C2

Figure 10 Representation in the Poincare Sphere of the five pairs of characteristic polarization

states.

In the previous figure, it can be clearly observed that all the pairs except (O1,O2) represent

pairs of orthogonal polarization states since they consist of antipodal points of the Poincare

Sphere. Additionally, it is possible to recognize that the orthogonal pairs of polarization states

XPOL NULL (equal to the COPOL MAX) and XPOL MAX define a plane within the Poincare

sphere which also contains the non-orthogonal pair of COPOL NULLS.

In the previous section, we have considered the representation of the five pairs of

characteristic polarization states within the Poincare Sphere. Huynen introduced the concept

of Polarization Fork by considering only the representation of the pairs (K,L) or (X1,X2) and

the non-orthogonal set (O1,O2). Figure 11 gives the representation of the polarization fork. In

order to better understand this concept it is helpful to consider the parameterization of the

scattering matrix proposed by Hyunen.

Given an arbitrary scattering matrix, we want to find the rotation matrix [U], in the sense of

(37), which gives as a result a diagonal scattering matrix. In general, the diagonalization of a

matrix is performed by the standard eigen-decomposition of matrices. Nevertheless, in the

backscattering case under the BSA convention, we have to be aware that we are dealing with

electromagnetic waves traveling in opposite directions. Consequently, the diagonalization of

the scattering matrix must be done according to the con-similarity transformation, as

presented in Section 2.3.2. In this particular situation, the diagonalization of the scattering

matrix is done with the pseudo eigen-decomposition, that is,

20

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

[S ] X = λ X * (61)

eigenvectors. Since the scattering matrix consists of a 2×2 complex symmetric matrix in the

backscattering case under the BSA convention, (61) presents two solutions. As demonstrated

by Huynen, the pseudo-eigenvectors of the scattering matrix correspond to the XPOL NULL,

i.e., (X1,X2). Since these two polarization states are orthogonal, it is only necessary to specify

one of them. Therefore, the con-similarity transformation to diagonalize the scattering matrix

is

T

⎡ S( X , X ) ⎤ = ⎡U ( X , X ) a ( X ,Y ) ⎤ ⎡ S( X ,Y ) ⎤ ⎡U ( X , X ) a ( X ,Y ) ⎤ (62)

⎣ 1 2 ⎦ ⎣ 1 2 ⎦ ⎣ ⎦⎣ 1 2 ⎦

where, the unitary matrix ⎡⎣U ( X1 , X 2 ) a ( X ,Y ) ⎤⎦ takes the form

⎡U ( X , X ) a ( X ,Y ) ⎤ = [ X 1 X2] (63)

⎣ 1 2 ⎦

and it can be parameterized as given by (37), i.e., it can be expressed in terms of the three

angles {φ, τ, α}. Huynen parameterized the resulting diagonal matrix as follows

⎡1 0 ⎤ jξ

⎡ S( X , X ) ⎤ = m ⎢ 2 ⎥

e (64)

⎣ 1 2 ⎦

⎣0 tan γ ⎦

where m represents the maximum polarization and the angle γ is the target ship angle. Finally

ξ consists of an absolute phase. As a result, Huynen parameterized the scattering matrix in

terms of the 5 Euler parameters {m, γ, φ, τ, α} and the absolute phase ξ.

As is can be observed in Figure 11, the angle γ determines the angle between the line formed

by the states (X1,X2) and (O1,O2), both considered to be over the same section or plane of the

Poincare sphere. Additionally, the three Euler parameters {φ, τ, α} consist of the rotations to

be done over every one of the three axis defining the space in order to bring the polarization

state given by x, corresponding to a linear polarized wave, to the polarization state given by

X1.

21

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

2φ

z$

X1

O2

0 y$

2τ

2γ

x$ X2

2ν

O1

A real target presents always a complex scattering response as a consequence of its complex

geometrical structure and its reflectivity properties. Consequently, the interpretation of this

response is obscure. As it shall be presented in a future chapter, a possible solution to

interpretate this response is to decompose it into the response of canonical mechanisms. These

scattering mechanism are characterized by presenting a simple scattering response. This

section presents the list of this canonical scattering mechanisms and its characterization by the

scattering matrix and the polarimetric signatures. The scattering matrix shall be presented in

three different orthogonal polarimetric bases:

• Linear polarization basis (h,v) where h and v stand for the horizontal and vertical

polarizations respectively.

• Linear rotated basis (a,b) where a and b stand for the 45 degrees linear and the -45

degrees linear polarizations respectively.

• Circular polarization basis (l,r) where l and r stand for the left circular and the right

circular polarizations respectively.

22

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

vˆ t

hˆ t

Linear rotated polarization

Linear polarization basis (h,v) Circular polarization basis (l,r)

basis (a,b)

⎡1 0 ⎤ ⎡1 0 ⎤ ⎡0 j⎤

[ S ] = ⎢0 ⎥ [ S ] = ⎢0 ⎥ [S ] = ⎢ j 0 ⎥⎦

⎣ 1⎦ ⎣ 1⎦ ⎣

Co-polar and cross-polar signatures of a sphere, a plane or a trihedral:

PCO PX

23

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

2.5.2 Dipole

vˆ t

hˆ t

Scattering matrices of a dipole orientated in the vertical axis in the three polarization basis:

Linear rotated polarization

Linear polarization basis (h,v) Circular polarization basis (l,r)

basis (a,b)

⎡1 0 ⎤ 1⎡1 −1⎤ 1⎡ 1 − j⎤

[ S ] = ⎢0 ⎥ [ S ] = 2 ⎢−1 1 ⎥⎦

[ S ] = 2 ⎢− j 1 ⎥⎦

⎣ 0⎦ ⎣ ⎣

Co-polar and cross-polar signatures of a dipole orientated in the vertical axis:

PCO PX

24

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

In this case, we consider the dipole oriented with an angle φ:

vˆ t

l

φ hˆ t

Scattering matrices of a dipole oriented with an angle φ in the three polarization basis:

Linear rotated polarization

Linear polarization basis (h,v) Circular polarization basis (l,r)

basis (a,b)

⎡ 1 ⎤ ⎡1 1 ⎤

⎢ cos φ sin 2φ ⎥ ⎢ + cos φ sin φ − cos 2 φ ⎥

2

1 ⎡e j 2φ −j ⎤

[S ] = ⎢ 1 2

⎥ [S ] = ⎢ 2 1 2

⎥ [S ] = 2 ⎢ ⎥

⎢ sin 2φ ⎣−j e − j 2φ ⎦

sin 2 φ ⎥ ⎢ − cos φ sin φ ⎥

1

− cos 2 φ

⎣⎢ 2 ⎦⎥ ⎣⎢ 2 2 ⎦⎥

PCO PX

Figure 17 Co-polar and Cross-polar signatures corresponding to a dipole oriented with a φ angle.

25

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

2.5.3 Dihedral

vˆ t

hˆ t

Scattering matrices of a dihedral oriented in the horizontal axis in the three polarization basis:

Linear rotated polarization

Linear polarization basis (h,v) Circular polarization basis (l,r)

basis (a,b)

⎡1 0⎤ ⎡0 −1⎤ ⎡1 0 ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢0 −1⎥⎦

[ S ] = ⎢−1 0 ⎥⎦

[ S ] = ⎢0 ⎥

⎣ ⎣ ⎣ 1⎦

Scattering matrices of a dihedral oriented with an angle φ in the three polarization basis:

Linear rotated polarization

Linear polarization basis (h,v) Circular polarization basis (l,r)

basis (a,b)

⎡ cos 2φ sin 2φ ⎤ ⎡ sin 2φ − cos 2φ ⎤ ⎡ e j 2φ 0 ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ sin 2φ − cos 2φ ⎥⎦

[ S ] = ⎢ − cos 2φ − sin 2φ ⎥⎦

[ ] ⎢

S = ⎥

− j 2φ

⎣ ⎣ ⎣ 0 e ⎦

Co-polar and cross-polar signatures of a dihedral oriented in the horizontal axis:

PCO PX

horizontal axis.

26

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

vˆ t

hˆ t

Scattering matrices of a right helix oriented with an angle φ in the three polarization basis:

Linear rotated polarization

Linear polarization basis (h,v) Circular polarization basis (l,r)

basis (a,b)

1 ⎡1 − j⎤ 1 ⎡ − j −1⎤ ⎡0 0 ⎤

[ S ] = 2 e − j 2φ ⎢ − j −1⎥⎦

[ S ] = 2 e− j 2φ ⎢ −1 j ⎥⎦

[ S ] = ⎢0 −e− j 2φ ⎥⎦

⎣ ⎣ ⎣

Co-polar and cross-polar signatures of a right helix oriented at 0 degrees:

PCO PX

27

Single vs. Multi polarization sar data

vˆ t

hˆ t

Scattering matrices of a left helix oriented with an angle φ in the three polarization basis:

Linear rotated polarization

Linear polarization basis (h,v) Circular polarization basis (l,r)

basis (a,b)

1 ⎡1 j⎤ 1 ⎡ j −1 ⎤ ⎡ e − j 2φ 0⎤

[ S ] = 2 e− j 2φ ⎢ j −1⎥⎦

[ S ] = 2 e− j 2φ ⎢ −1 − j ⎥⎦

[S ] = ⎢ ⎥

⎣ ⎣ ⎣ 0 0⎦

PCO PX

28

Speckle Filtering

3. SPECKLE FILTERING

Unlike optical remote sensing images, characterized by very neat and uniform features,

SAR images are affected by speckle. Speckle confers to SAR images a granular aspect

with random spatial variations. Figure 1 shows an example of single polarization speckled

SAR images.

2 2

Figure 1 Single-look S11 (top) and S12 (bottom)images.

The intensity images displayed in Figure 1 show a poor contrast, as well as a random

aspect, that reduce the possibilities of visual interpretation and analysis of the scene under

consideration.

The discrimination of different natural media by comparing intensity to a fixed threshold

leads, in general to numerous errors due to the high variability of SAR speckled response.

Speckle phenomenon also affects the phase of scattering coefficients and corrupts

polarimetric information.

The image of Arg ( S11 ) shown in Figure 2 indicates that the absolute phase of a scattering

coefficient is highly random and does not contain evident information. Speckle does not

affect similarly different polarimetric channels, as shown in the between channel relative

*

phase image, Arg ( S11 S 22 ) and in the color coded image, built from the three polarimetric

2 2

and R = S 11 , G = S 12 , B = S 22

2 2 2

channel intensities, S 11 , S 12

1

Speckle Filtering

*

Figure 2 Arg ( S11 ) (top) and Arg ( S11 S 22 ) (middle) images. Color coded image

R = S11 , G = S12 , B = S 22

2 2 2

(bottom).

Speckle corrupts polarimetric observables (phase and intensity) in an important way. Specific

procedures have to be used to retrieve relevant polarimetric information and to reduce the

randomness of the acquired signals.

Speckle confers a random aspect to SAR images, but may not be considered as a simple noise.

It is, in fact, tightly related to the SAR measurement principle.

Synthesized SAR data may be considered as the result of the integration of a scene coherent

response within each resolution cell, resulting from the convolution of the SAR impulse

response with the coherent contribution of each elementary scatterer, as illustrated in Figure

3. As the number of contributing scatterers, within a resolution cell, tends to be large (it is the

case for common resolution SAR measurements), the resulting integrated response is random

in phase and amplitude and is shown to follow, over homogeneous areas, a Normal

distribution.

2

Speckle Filtering

Im

Ei

E tot = ∑ E i

i

E1

Re

A speckled response is usually represented under the form of a simple product model

y = x.n

(1)

Where y represents a complex speckled scattering coefficient, x the original unspeckled

scattering coefficient and n the multiplicative speckle contribution.

The speckle term, n is composed of independent real and imaginary parts, following both real

centered Normal distribution N C (0, 1 / 2) .

Y = yy ∗ = xx ∗ nn∗

(2)

⇒ Y = X nn ∗

Over homogeneous areas, X is considered to be constant and the speckled intensity follows

an exponential probability density function

Y

−

−1

p (Y ) = X e X (3)

E (Y ) = X E (nn ∗ ) = X

(4)

Var (Y ) = X 2 Var (nn ∗ ) = X 2

This speckle model may be extended to the polarimetric case by considering that polarimetric

channels are affected by independent multiplicative speckle components :

3

Speckle Filtering

⎢S ⎥ = ⎢ ⎥⎢n ⎥ ⇒ ⎢ 2⎥ ⎢

11 11 11

∗ ⎥

⎢ 12 ⎥ ⎢ x12 ⎥ ⎢ 12 ⎥ ⎢ S12 ⎥ = ⎢ X 12 (n12 n12 ) ⎥ (5)

⎢⎣ S 22 ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ x22 ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣n22 ⎥⎦ ⎢ S 2 ⎥ ⎢ X (n n ∗ )⎥

⎣⎢ 22 ⎦⎥ ⎣ 22 22 22 ⎦

One may note that the multiplicative assumption is in general not valid to model speckled

correlation terms.

random variable whose mean value equals the unspeckled intensity, X , but affected by a

large variance due to speckle.

The principle of speckle filtering consists of reducing the variance of Y in order to improve

the estimate of its mean.

The sample mean, Y , is defined as the empirical average of L independent realizations of a

speckled intensity as follows

1 L

Y = ∑ Yi

L i =1

(6)

It can be shown that, over homogeneous areas, this estimate of X follows a Gamma density

function

L −1 L Y

LL X Y −

p( Y ) = e X

(7)

Γ( L ) X L

E( Y ) = X

(8)

Var ( Y ) = X 2 / L

It is possible to observe from (8) that as the number of independent samples, L, reduces to 1

the variance of the estimate intensity increases, whereas incoherent averaging over L

independent realizations permits to reduce the variance of a speckled intensity in a significant

way.

The quantity L = var( I ) / E ( I ) 2 is called the Equivalent Number of Looks (ENL) and is a

measure of speckle importance.

4

Speckle Filtering

stdev ( Y ) 10n

10 4

9

3.5

8

3

7

2.5

6

5 2

4

1.5

3

1

2

0.5

1

0 0

E( Y )

0 2 4 6 8 10

areas.

The occurrence plot displayed in Figure 4 clearly shows that the standard deviation and the

mean of sampled intensities are linearly related over homogeneous areas. The slope of this

linear relation is L and equals 1 in the case of single-look data sets.

The boxcar filter is a direct application of the incoherent averaging described by (6) to the

case of an image.

~

Filtered intensity estimates, X i , j , are constructed by computing the sample mean over each

pixel neighborhood, defined by a sliding window of ( N w × N w ) pixels

Nw / 2 Nw / 2

~ 1

X i , j = Yi , j

Nw

=

N w2

∑ ∑Y

p=− N w / 2 q=− N w / 2

i+ p , j +q (9)

where the subscripts i and j correspond to the considered pixel row and column index

respectively.

2

Figure 5 S11 filtered image using a boxcar filter.

5

Speckle Filtering

Figure 5 shows an intensity image obtained using a (7×7) boxcar filter. This image shows

enhanced contrast and lower random aspect.

As it can be seen in Figure 5, the boxcar filter is characterized by two main limitations :

- sharp edges are generally blurred

- point scatterers are over filtered and transformed to spread targets

Solutions to these limitations are offered by the refined Lee filter.

J. S. Lee's filter determines the unspeckled intensity estimate that minimizes the mean squared

error

~ 2

X−X (10)

This MMSE filter is based on a linearized speckle model leading to the following estimate

expression

~

X = Y N +k Y − Y N

w

( w

) (11)

var( X ) var Y − E ( Y )σ n

2 2

k= =

var Y var Y [1 + σ n2 ]

(12)

1

with σ n = the a priori speckle variance

2

L

~

Over homogeneous areas, var( X ) = 0 ⇒ k = 0 and X = Y N , whereas over point targets

w

~

and highly heterogeneous areas, k = 1⇒ X = Y and the pixel intensity remains unaffected by

the filtering procedure.

0

1

heterogeneities, this filter uses directional masks to determine the most homogeneous part of

the sliding window where local statistics have to be estimated. This modification permits to

preserve relatively sharp edges.

6

Speckle Filtering

The Lee filter results displayed in Figure 7 demonstrate the effectiveness of this adaptive

filtering approach

2

Figure 7 S11 filtered image using a (7×7) Lee filter.

Speckle filtering is based on incoherent averaging and requires handling statistical second

order representations. The intensity information used in the scalar case has to be extended to

the vector case when dealing with two or more polarization channels in order to take into

account the different intensities as well as the cross-correlation related information.

A simple way to build an incoherent polarimetric representation consists in vectorizing the

scattering matrix to create a target vector and computing the corresponding covariance matrix

(details on matrix incoherent representations may be found in the appendix).

[S ] ⇒ k 3L , k 3P

[

with k 3 L = S11 2 S12 S 22 ]

T

(13)

and k 3 P =

1

[S11 + S 22 S11 − S 22 2S12 ]T

2

The (3×3) covariance matrix, [C3 ] , is defined as :

[C3 ] = k 3 L k 3L

†

(14)

where † represents the transpose conjugate operator. One may note that [C3 ] is not a usual

covariance matrix that would require the use of an expectation operator, but this

representation may be understood as an incoherent polarimetric form obtained from a single

realization of k 3L .

The (3×3) coherency matrix, [T3 ] , is defined as :

[T3 ] = k 3 P k 3 P

†

(15)

7

Speckle Filtering

One may note that the coherency matrix is in fact the single realization covariance matrix of

k 3P .

Covariance and coherency matrices are similar (related by a similarity transformation) and

may be used in an equivalent way

⎡ 1 1 ⎤

⎢ 0⎥

2 2

−1 ⎢ ⎥

k 3 P = [ A]k 3 L ⇒ [T3 ] = [ A][C3 ][ A] = [ A][C3 ][ A] with [ A] = ⎢

†

0 0 1⎥ (16)

1 1

⎢ − 0⎥

⎢⎣ 2 2 ⎥⎦

The extension of the boxcar filter to the polarimetric case is straightforward. The estimated

covariance matrix is given by

Nw / 2 Nw / 2

~ 1

[C ]i , j = [C ]i , j

Nw

=

N w2

∑ ∑ [C ]

p=− N w / 2 q=− N w / 2

i+ p, j+q (17)

where the subscripts i and j correspond to the considered pixel row and column index

respectively.

J. S. Lee proposed to estimate the unspeckled covariance matrix according to the following

expression

[C ] = [C ] + k ([C ] − [C ] )

~

(18)

where k remains a scalar coefficient computed from the span statistics, span = C11 + C 22 + C33 .

This approximation allows to filter polarimetric data in a fast and simple way and avoids

additional coupling (or cross-talk) between the polarimetric channels.

Figure 8 shows improved color coded images processed through the boxcar and J. S. Lee

filters.

8

Speckle Filtering

2 2 2

, filtered image using a (7×7) boxcar (top)

Lee's filter (bottom).

It was seen in former paragraphs that it is necessary to reduce polarimetric variables random

aspect by speckle filtering prior to any interpretation of polarimetric information. The

incoherent averaging of [T3 ] or [C3 ] matrices has an important impact on their polarimetric

properties.

Speckle filtering may cause a loss of polarimetric information by destroying the relation

between and [T3 ] or [C3 ] matrices.

A coherency matrix is fully defined by 9 real coefficients : its three diagonal terms and three

complex correlation coefficients. In the case of a single look coherency matrix, all three

correlation coefficients have unitary modulus and one of their phase may be obtained by a

linear combination of the remaining two, leaving 5 degrees of freedom. A relative scattering

matrix [ S rel ] and single-look [T3 ] or [C3 ] matrices may be related in a unique way as shown

in the following example :

⎡C11 C12 C13 ⎤ ⎡ C11 m12 e jφ12 m13 e jφ13 ⎤

⎢ ⎥

[C ] = ⎢⎢C12* C 22 C 23 ⎥⎥ = ⎢m12 e − jφ12 C 22 m23 e j (φ13 −φ12 ) ⎥

⎣⎢C13

* *

C 23 C33 ⎦⎥ ⎢⎣ m13e 13 m23 e − j (φ13 −φ12 )

− jφ

C33 ⎥

⎦

(19)

9

Speckle Filtering

And

⎡ C 22 / 2 e − jφ12 ⎤

[S rel ] = e − jφ [S ] = ⎢

1

C11

⎥- (20)

− jφ

⎢⎣ C 22 / 2 e 12 C33 e − jφ13 ⎥⎦

examples.

After speckle filtering, this may not be true anymore. In a general case, the modulus of

correlation coefficients is inferior to one and the phase terms are linearly independent

S ij S kl*

2

≤ S ij

2

S kl

2

(

and Arg S ij S kl* )≠ (

Arg S ij S kl* ) (21)

In such a case, the coherency matrix is said to be distributed and cannot be related to a

coherent scattering matrix.

The correlation coefficient displayed in Figure 9 shows a varying modulus over the selected

scene, indicating that the degree of correlation might be related to the nature of the scattering

medium. The additional information contained in the cross-correlation terms will be exploited

by incoherent decomposition theorems to extract even more characteristics from polarimetric

data sets.

10

Speckle Filtering

* 2 2

Figure 9 Argument (top) and modulus (bottom) of S11S 22 / S11 S 22 after application of a

Lee filter.

coherent scattering matrix or incoherent Kennaugh matrix representations.

The Co-polarization polarimetric signature is given by

2

PC = E (φ ,τ ) [ S ] E (φ ,τ ) or PC = g (φ ,τ ) [ K ] g (φ ,τ )

t t

(22)

Let us assume that the Kenaugh matrix [K ] results from the incoherent averaging of N

single-look matrices [ K i ] . The Co-polarization polarimetric signature of [K ] may then be

expressed as

PC = g (φ ,τ ) [ K ] g (φ ,τ ) = g (φ ,τ ) [ K ] g (φ ,τ ) = g (φ ,τ ) g r (φ ,τ )

t t t

(23)

where g r (φ ,τ ) stands for the average reflected Stokes vector and may be formulated as

1 N 1 N

g r (φ ,τ ) = ∑ i

N i =1

[ K ] g (φ ,τ ) = ∑ g (φ ,τ )

N i =1 ri

(24)

Knowing that each reflected Stokes vector may be written as a function of the corresponding

Jones vector components, that is

[

g ri = E ri1 + E ri 2

2 2

E ri1 − E ri 2

2 2

(

2ℜ E ri1 E ri* 2 ) (

− 2ℑ E ri1 E ri* 2 )]

T

(25)

g r = E r1 [ 2

+ Er 2

2

E r1

2

− Er 2

2

(

2ℜ Er1 Er*2 ) (

− 2ℑ Er1 Er*2 )]

T

= [g r 0 gr3 ]

T (26)

g r1 gr2

g r20 ≥ g r21 + g r22 + g r23 (27)

Relation (27) indicates that the average polarization-dependent intensity of a wave,

g r21 + g r22 + g r23 may be inferior to its total average intensity g r20 (when the reflected Stokes

vector are not parallel).

Such waves are said to be partially polarized and may be decomposed as follows

g r = [g r 0 g r 3 ] = [(α g r 0 g r 3 ] + [(1 − α ) g r 0 0 0 0]

T T T

g r1 gr2 g r1 gr2 (28)

11

Speckle Filtering

t

a fully polarized wave, with

α 2 g r20 = g r21 + g r22 + g r23 and [(1 − α ) g r 0 0 0 0] is associated to a completely unpolarized

t

The decomposition factor

g r21 + g r22 + g r23

α= , 0 ≤α ≤1 (29)

g r20

The co-polarization polarimetric signature mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph can

then be rewritten as a function of the degree of polarization

⎡α g r 0 ⎤

⎢ g ⎥

PC = g (φ ,τ ) g r (φ ,τ ) = g (φ ,τ ) ⎢ r1 ⎥ + (1 − α ) g 0 g r 0

t t

(30)

⎢ gr2 ⎥

⎢ ⎥

⎣ gr3 ⎦

When the reflected Stokes vectors are not parallel, i.e. the averaged Kenaugh matrices do not

correspond by a scalar factor, α ≠ 1 and it the copular intensity is strictly superior to. In such

cases, one cannot determine co-pol nor cross-pol nulls and the polarization signature is said to

show a pedestal.

12

Polarimetric Decompositions

4. POLARIMETRIC DECOMPOSITIONS

The objective of the coherent decompositions is to express the measured scattering matrix by

the radar, i.e. [ S ] , as a the combination of the scattering responses of simpler objects

k

[ S ] = ∑ ci [ S ]i (1)

i =1

In (1), the symbol [ S ]i stands for the response of every one the simpler objects, also known as

canonical objects, whereas ci indicates the weight of [ S ]i in the combination leading to the

measured [ S ] . As observed in (1), the term combination refers here to the weighted addition

of the k scattering matrices. In order to simplify the understanding of (1), it is desirable that

the matrices [ S ]i present the property of independence among them to avoid that a particular

scattering behavior to be present in more than one matrix [ S ]i . Often the most restrictive

property of orthogonality is imposed.

As it has been already highlighted in this document, the scattering matrix [S ] can

characterize the scattering process produced by a given target, and therefore the target itself.

This is possible only in those cases in which both, the incident and the scattered waves are

completely polarized waves. Consequently, coherent target decompositions can be only

employed to study the so-called coherent targets. These scatterers are also known as point or

pure targets.

In a real situation, the measured scattering matrix by the radar [ S ] corresponds to a complex

coherent target. Only in a few occasions, this matrix will correspond to a simpler or canonical

object, which a good example is, for instance, the trihedrals employed to calibrate SAR

imagery. Nevertheless, in a general situation, a direct analysis of the matrix [ S ] , with the

objective to infer the physical properties of the scatterer under study, is shown very difficult.

Thus, the physical properties of the target under study are extracted and interpreted through

the analysis of the simpler responses [ S ]i and the corresponding coefficients ci in (1).

The decomposition exposed in (1) is not unique in the sense that it is possible to find a

{ }

number of infinite sets [ S ]i ; i = 1,K, k in which the matrix [ S ] can be decomposed.

i

are convenient to interpret the

information contained in [ S ] . In the next, we shall detail three of these sets which lead to: the

1

Polarimetric Decompositions

Pauli, the Krogager and the Cameron decompositions. As mentioned above, these

decompositions of the scattering matrix can be only employed to characterize coherent

scatterers. Therefore, we will finish this section presenting an algorithm to detect such a

targets where these decomposition theorems are relevant.

The Pauli decomposition expresses the measured scattering matrix [ S ] in the so-called Pauli

basis. If we considered the conventional orthogonal linear (h,v) basis, in a general case, the

{ }

Pauli basis [ S ]a , [ S ]b , [ S ]c , [ S ]d is given by the following four 2×2 matrices

1 ⎡1 0⎤

[ S ]a = ⎢ 1 ⎥⎦

(2)

2 ⎣0

1 ⎡1 0⎤

[ S ]b = ⎢ −1⎥⎦

(3)

2 ⎣0

1 ⎡0 1⎤

[ S ]c = ⎢ 0 ⎥⎦

(4)

2 ⎣1

1 ⎡0 −1⎤

[ S ]d = ⎢ 0 ⎥⎦

(5)

2 ⎣1

In this document, it has been always considered that S hv = Svh , since reciprocity applies in a

monostatic system configuration. In this situation, the Pauli basis can be reduced to a basis

composed by the matrices (2), (3) and (4), that is,

{[ S ] ,[ S ] ,[ S ] }

a b c (6)

⎡S Shv ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ Shh Svv ⎥⎦

= α [ S ]a + β [ S ]b + γ [ S ]c (7)

⎣ hv

where

Shh + Svv

α= (8)

2

S hh − Svv

β= (9)

2

γ = 2 Shv (10)

From (8), (9) and (10) it can be easy show that the span of [ S ] can be obtained as

2 2 2 2 2 2

SPAN = S hh + Svv + 2 S hv = α + β + γ (11)

2

Polarimetric Decompositions

The interpretation of the Pauli decomposition must be done according to the matrices in the

basis given at (6) and the corresponding coefficients (8), (9) and (10).

The matrix [ S ]a corresponds to the scattering matrix of a sphere, a plate or a trihedral. In

general, [ S ]a is referred to single- or odd-bounce scattering. Thus, the complex coefficient α,

given at (8), represents the contribution of [ S ]a to the final measured scattering matrix. In

2

particular, the intensity of this coefficient, i.e., α , determines the power scattered by targets

characterized by single- or odd-bounce.

The second matrix, [ S ]b represents the scattering mechanism of a dihedral oriented at 0

degrees. In general, this component indicates a scattering mechanism characterized by double-

or even-bounce, since the polarization of the returned wave is mirrored respect to the one of

the incident wave. Consequently, β stands for the complex coefficient of this scattering

2

mechanism and β represents the scattered power by this type of targets.

Finally, the third matrix [ S ]c corresponds to the scattering mechanism of a diplane oriented at

45 degrees. As it can be observed in (4), and considering that this matrix is expressed in the

linear orthogonal basis (h,v), the target returns a wave with a polarization orthogonal to the

one of the incident wave. From a qualitative point of view, the scattering mechanism

represented by [ S ]c is referred to those scatterers which are able to return the orthogonal

polarization, from which, one of the best examples is the volume scattering produced by the

forest canopy. The coefficient γ represents the contribution of [ S ]c to [ S ] , whereas γ stands

2

decomposition

The Pauli decomposition of the scattering matrix is often employed to represent all the

polarimetric information in a single SAR image.

The polarimetric information of [S ] could be represented by the combination of the

2 2 2

intensities S hh , Svv and 2 S hv in a single RGB image, i.e., every of the previous

intensities coded as a color channel. The main drawback of this approach is the physical

3

Polarimetric Decompositions

-30dB -15dB 0dB

2 2

Figure 1 Intensities of the polarimetric channels S hh , S vv and the combination of them in an

RGB image.

2 2 2

interpretation of the resulting image in term of S hh , Svv and 2 S hv . Consequently, an

2 2 2

RGB image can be formed with the intensities α , β and γ , which, as explained before,

correspond to clear physical scattering mechanisms. Thus, the resulting color image can be

employed to interpret the physical information from a qualitative point of view. The most

employed codification corresponds to

2

α → Red (12)

2

β → Blue (13)

4

Polarimetric Decompositions

2

γ → Green (14)

Then, the resulting color of the RGB image is interpreted in terms of scattering mechanism as

given by (12), (13) and (14). Figure 1 presents an example of this codification

Krogager has proposed an alternative to factorize the scattering matrix as the combination of

the responses of a sphere, a diplane and a helix. The last two components present an

orientation angle θ. If we consider the scattering matrix expressed in the linear orthogonal

basis (h,v), the Krogager decomposition presents the following formulation

⎦ {

⎡ S( h , v ) ⎤ = e jϕ e jϕs ks [ S ] + kd [ S ] + kh [ S ]

⎣ s d h }

⎧ ⎡1 0 ⎤ ⎡ cos 2θ sin 2θ ⎤ ⎡ 1 ± j⎤⎫ (15)

= e jϕ ⎨e jϕs ks ⎢ ⎥ + kd ⎢ ⎥ + kh e m j 2θ ⎢ ⎥⎬

⎩ ⎣0 1 ⎦ ⎣ sin 2θ − cos 2θ ⎦ ⎣± j 1 ⎦ ⎭

If we compare (15) with (7), it can be observed that both decompositions present the same

number of independent parameters, i.e., six. In the case of the Pauli decomposition, the

complex coefficients α, β and γ, whereas in the case of the Krogager decomposition, the three

angles φ, φs and θ and the three real coefficients ks, kd and kh. The phase φ is referred as the

absolute phase, whose value depends on the distance between the radar and the target under

study. Due to the arbitrary value that this phase can present, it is often considered that the

Krogager decomposition presents 5 independent parameters given by {φs, θ, ks, kd, kh} plus

the absolute phase given by φ.

In order to calculate the value of the parameters {φs, θ, ks, kd, kh} plus the absolute phase φ, a

reformulation of (15) with the objective to simplify the process is next presented. Now, if we

consider the measured scattering matrix expressed in the circular polarization basis (r,l), the

Krogager decomposition is then

⎡S S rl ⎤ ⎡ S rr e rr

jϕ

S rl e jϕrl

⎤

⎡ S( r ,l ) ⎤ = ⎢ rr =⎢ ⎥

⎣ ⎦

⎣ S rl Sll ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ S rl e jϕrl − Sll e ( rr ) ⎥⎦

j ϕ +π

(16)

⎪⎧ jϕs ⎡ 0 j ⎤

jϕ ⎡e j 2θ 0 ⎤ ⎡e j 2θ 0 ⎤ ⎫⎪

= e ⎨e k s ⎢ ⎥ + kd ⎢ ⎥ + kh ⎢ ⎥⎬

⎪⎩ ⎣ j 0⎦ ⎣ 0 −e − j 2θ ⎦ ⎣ 0 0 ⎦ ⎪⎭

From (16), it can be easily observed that the response of the sphere can be obtained from S rl

ks = Srl (17)

The terms Srr and Sll represent, directly, the diplane component of the decomposition (16), but

two cases of analysis must be considered according to the difference in absolute value of Srr

and Sll. This is necessary in order to accommodate the difference in the scattered power in the

right and the left circular polarizations. When Sll represents the diplane component, it occurs

that Srr > Sll . Hence

5

Polarimetric Decompositions

+

k = Srr − Sll

h (19)

And the helix component presents a left sense. On the contrary, when it is Srr the term which

represents the diplane component, it occurs that Sll > Srr

kh− = Sll − Srr (21)

and the helix has a right sense. Finally, from (16), the phase components are

1

ϕ= (ϕrr + ϕll + π ) (22)

2

1

θ = (ϕrr − ϕll − π ) (23)

4

1

ϕ = ϕrl − (ϕrr + ϕll + π ) (24)

2

In order to relate the formulations of the Krogager decomposition presented in (15) and (16),

the following relations are useful

1

S rr = jS hv +( Shh − Svv ) (25)

2

1

Sll = jShv − ( Shh − Svv ) (26)

2

j

Srl = ( Shh + Svv ) (27)

2

The interpretation of the Krogager decomposition must be done according to the coefficients

{φs, θ, ks, kd, kh}, plus the absolute phase φ.

The absolute phase φ can contain information about the scatterer under study. But, since its

value depends also on the distance between the radar and the target, it is considered as a

irrelevant parameter.

The parameters φs and ks characterize the sphere component of the Krogager decomposition.

On the one hand, the phase φs represents a displacement of the sphere respect to the diplane

and the helix components. On the other hand, the real parameter ks represents the contribution

6

Polarimetric Decompositions

2 2 2

Figure 2 Intensities corresponding to the Krogager decomposition k s , kd and kh , and the

combination of them in an RGB image. Images are shown in a dB scale.

of the sphere component to the final scattering matrix [ S ] . Consequenty, |ks|2 is interpreted as

the power scattered by the sphere-like component of the matrix [ S ] .

The phase parameter θ stands for the orientation angle of the deplane and the helix

components of the Krogager decomposition.

Finally, the coefficients kd and kh correspond to the weights of the diplane and the helix

components. Thus, |kd|2 and |kh|2 are interpreted as the power scatterered by the diplane- and

the helix-like components of the Krogager decomposition.

7

Polarimetric Decompositions

decomposition

The information provided by the Krogager decomposition can be also employed to form a

RGB color-coded image representing the polarimetric information. In this case, the phase

terms are discarded and only the coefficients {ks, kd, kh} are considered in the following way

2

k s → Red (28)

2

kd → Blue (29)

2

kh → Green (30)

The Cameron decomposition performs a factorization of the measured scattering matrix [ S ]

based on two basic properties of radar targets: reciprocity and symmetry.

A radar target is considered reciprocal when the diagonal terms of the measured scattering

matrix are equal, i.e., the reciprocity theorem applies. For a scattering matrix measured in the

orthogonal linear (h,v) basis

S hv = Svh (31)

whereas for the orthogonal circular (r,l) basis

Srl = Slr (32)

The reciprocity assumption applies in the case of monostatic SAR systems, where the

transmitting and receiving antennas are located in the same position. Consequently, all the

scatterers can be considered as reciprocal when imaged by a monostatic SAR system.

A scattering is considered symmetric when the target has an axis of symmetry in the plane

orthogonal to the direction between the radar and the target. The symmetry of a scatterer can

be also considered in the frame of the Pauli decomposition (7). Hence, a scatterer is

considered symmetric if it exists a rotation which cancels the projection of [ S ] in the

component [ S ]c of the Pauli decomposition.

Since monostatic SAR imagery considerers only reciprocal scatterers, we present, in the

following, the Cameron decomposition applied to reciprocal targets, i.e., [ S ] is symmetric.

⎡S Shv ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ Shh Svv ⎥⎦

(33)

⎣ hv

8

Polarimetric Decompositions

⎡ Shh ⎤

r ⎢S ⎥

S = ⎢ hv ⎥ (34)

⎢ S hv ⎥

⎢ ⎥

⎢⎣ Svv ⎥⎦

Hence, the Pauli decomposition given at (7) can be formulated in a vector form as follows

r r r r

S = α S a + β Sb + γ S c (35)

The Cameron decomposition states that a reciprocal target can be decomposed as the sum of

two components as follows

r r max r min

S = A ⎡⎣cosτ S sym + sin τ S sym ⎤

⎦ (36)

Considering the inner vector product as (.,.), and the vector norm as ||.||, the different

parameters of (36) are obtained as follows

r

A= S (37)

r max r r

S sym = α Sa + ε Sb (38)

r max

The matrix S sym is called the largest or maximum symmetric component of [ S ] and it is

obtained by means of

ε = β cos θ + γ sin θ (39)

and

βγ * + β *γ

tan ( 2θ ) = 2 2 (40)

β −γ

r min r

The matrix S sym is called the minimum symmetric component of S . Finally, the factor cos τ

r r r min

is the degree of symmetry of S and it measures the degree to which S deviates from S sym and

is obtained as

r r min

cosτ =

( rS , Sr )

sym

min

(41)

S S sym

r

An arbitrary symmetric scatterer Ssym can be decomposed according to

r

ˆ ( z ) a ∈ R + ρ ,ψ ∈ ( −π , π ]

S sym = ae j ρ ⎡⎣ R (ψ ) ⎤⎦ Λ (42)

where a indicates the amplitude of the scattering matrix, ρ is the nuisance phase and ψ is the

scatterer orientation angle. The matrix ⎡⎣ R (ψ ) ⎤⎦ denotes the rotation operator. Finally, the

ˆ ( z ) , expressed in the linear polarization basis, is

normalized vector Λ

9

Polarimetric Decompositions

⎡1 ⎤

⎢ ⎥

1 ⎢0 ⎥

Λ( z) =

ˆ z ∈ C, z ≤ 1 (43)

1 + z ⎢0 ⎥

⎢ ⎥

⎣z⎦

Consequently, the complex quantity z in (43) can be employed to characterize the symmetric

scatterer under consideration. The following list presents the values of z some some canonical

targets

• Triedral

ˆ (1)

Sˆa = Λ (44)

• Diplane

ˆ ( −1)

Sˆb = Λ (45)

• Dipole

ˆ ( 0)

Sˆl = Λ (46)

• Cylinder

ˆ ⎛1⎞

Sˆcy = Λ (47)

⎜ ⎟

⎝2⎠

• Narrow diplane

ˆ ⎛− 1 ⎞

Sˆnd = Λ (48)

⎜ ⎟

⎝ 2⎠

• Quarter wave device

ˆ ( j)

Sˆ1 4 = Λ (49)

On the basis of the factorization of the measured scattering matrix [S ] , (36), and the

representation of the maximum symmetrical component as a complex quantity z, Cameron

r max

proposed a classification scheme for the maximum symmetrical component S sym . This

classification scheme is based on comparing the quantity z of the matrix under study with

those corresponding to the targets given from (44) to (49). In order to compare the measured z

and the scattering responses of the targets of reference, the following metric must be

considered

1 + z * zref

d ( z, zref ) = (50)

2 2

1+ z 1 + zref

Finally, the measured scatterer z is classified according to the shortest distance d(z,zref).

Figure 3 presents the Cameron’s classification scheme based on the metric (50).

10

Polarimetric Decompositions

⎡S S hv ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ Shh Svv ⎥⎦

⎣ hv

T Right Helix

F

Symmetrical Match Helix Left Helix

Asymmetrical

T F

Maximum

Symmetrical

Component

Triedral

Dihedral

Narrow dihedral

Shortest distance

d(z,zref)

Dipole

Cylinder

¼ Wave

As it has been noticed, the previous coherent decompositions can be only employed to

analyze pure targets whose scattering response is completely determined by the measured

scattering matrix [ S ] . Consequently, when working with SAR imagery, it is necessary to

determine whether a particular pixel is a pure target or, on the contrary, it belongs to a

distributed scatterer. For the first case, coherent decompositions can be employed to study the

physics of the scatterer. Nevertheless, the analysis of distributed scatterers must be performed

by means of the so-called incoherent decompositions.

A qualitative way to differentiate pure from distributed scatterers is to consider their physical

nature. A rough division would be to consider the man-made targets as pure targets, whereas

natural targets can be considered as distributed. For man-made targets we understand all type

of artificial man-structures in a SAR image such buildings, power lines, train tracks or cars.

On the contrary, for instance, forests, agricultural areas, bare soils or water have to be

considered as distributed targets.

Touzi has proposed a technique to identify pure targets in a SAR images, based on the

Cameron decomposition. This technique determines the nature of a target on the maximum

r max

symmetrical component of the Cameron decomposition S sym . In the analysis of a given target,

Touzi differentiates two cases to perform such a study. On the one hand, pure targets whose

11

Polarimetric Decompositions

response occupy only one pixel and, on the other hand, targets whose response extends among

several pixels.

A resolution cell, or pixel, in a SAR images is formed by the coherent addition of the

responses of the elementary scatterers within the resolution cell. In those cases in which there

is no a dominant scatterer, the statistics of the response is given by the complex Gaussian

scattering model, giving rise to the so-called speckle.

Nevertheless, the resolution cell can present a point target, which dominates the response of

the resolution cell. In this case, the scattering response is due to the coherent combination of

two components: the one due to the dominant scatterer and the coherent combination due to

the clutter, which is given by the complex Gaussian scattering statistics model. The statistics

of the resulting combination receives the name of Rician model. Figure 4 compares the

response with and without the presence of a point scatterer within the resolution cell.

Imaginary part Imaginary part

Speckle

Speckle

Final response

Final response

Real part Real part

(a) (b)

Figure 4 Coherent response of a given resolution cell (a) without a dominant scatterer, (b) with a

dominant scatterer.

As observed in Figure 4b, despite the point target (blue arrow) can dominate the response of

a resolution cell (red arrow), the effect of the clutter (cloud of black arrows) must be taken

into consideration. It is necessary, hence, to compare the response of the point target with the

one of the clutter. Hence, a signal to clutter power ratio, denoted by S/C, must be defined.

Touzi established that this ratio must be higher than 15dB. The reason to choose this value is

that the response of the resolution cell will present a phase variation smaller than π/4 with

respect to the response of the point target.

In order to be, as much as possible, independent from the conditions in which the SAR image

has been taken, Touzi proposed to apply the previous S/C criteria on the maximum

polarization return |m|2, which represents the polarization state giving maximum returned

power from the scatterer under consideration. This parameter, representing the pure target

response, can be obtained from the diagonalization of the measured scattering matrix [ S ] , via

its eigendecomposition, as established by Hyunen. According to Huynen, the eigenvalues of

the covariance matrix [ S ] can be parameterized as follows

λ1 = me j 2υ (51)

− j 2υ

λ2 = m tan γ e

2

(52)

12

Polarimetric Decompositions

where λ1 and λ2 are the maximum and the minimum eigenvalues, respectively. In (51) and

(52), m is the maximum polarization, υ is the skip angle and γ is the polarisability angle.

Consequently, |m|2 can be derived from the magnitude of the maximum eigenvalue of [ S ] .

Finally, the power corresponding to the clutter can be derived from a neighboring area not

affected by the point scatterer.

For distributed scatterers, Touzi proposed to measure its coherency also in terms of the

r max

maximum symmetric component S sym derived from the Cameron decomposition. On the

basis of its definition, (38), Touzi defined the so-called degree of coherence of a distributed

scattered as follows

( )

2 2

2 2

α −β + 4 α ⋅ β*

psym = (53)

2 2

α +β

The degree of coherence is generated by a moving window. In the resulting map, those pixels

presenting psym close to 1 represent areas in which the scatterer is locally coherent. Hence,

the coherent decomposition theorems can be applied in this case.

⎡S Shv ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ Shh Svv ⎥⎦

⎣ hv

r max r r

S sym = α S a + ε Sb

Symmetric scattering

T

F Dist. target T

coherence

Point target T

coherence

On the basis of the coherent test presented in the previous two points, Touzi proposed an

algorithm to determine which pixels in a SAR image are coherent, and, therefore, the coherent

decomposition theorems can be employed to analyze them. Figure 5 presents the flow chart

of the algorithm.

13

Polarimetric Decompositions

As explained previously, the scattering matrix [ S ] is only able to characterize the so-called

coherent or pure scatterers. On the contrary, this matrix can not be employed to characterize,

from a polarimetric point of view, the so-called distributed scatterers. This type of scatterers

can be only characterized, statistically, due to the presence of speckle noise. Since speckle

noise must be reduced, only second order polarimetric representations can be employed to

analyze distributed scatterers. These second order descriptors are the 3×3, Hermitian average

covariance [C3 ] [T3 ] and the coherency [T3 ] matrices. These two representations of the

polarimetric information are equivalent.

The complexity of the scattering process makes extremely difficult the physical study of a

given scatterer through the direct analysis of [C3 ] or [T3 ] . Hence, the objective of the

incoherent decompositions is to separate the [ C3 ] or [T3 ] matrices as the combination of

second order descriptors corresponding to simpler or canonical objects, presenting an easier

physical interpretation. These decomposition theorems can be expressed as

k

[C3 ] = ∑ pi [C3 ]i (54)

i =1

k

[T3 ] = ∑ qi [T3 ]i (55)

i =1

where the canonical responses are represented by [C3 ]i and [T3 ]i , and pi and qi denote the

coefficients of these components in [ C3 ] or [T3 ] , respectively. As in the case of the

coherent decomposition, it is desirable that these components present some properties. First of

all, it is desirable that the components [C3 ]i and [T3 ]i correspond to pure targets in order to

simplify the physical study. Nevertheless, this is not absolutely necessary. In addition the

components [C3 ]i and [T3 ]i are independent, or in a more restrictive way, orthogonal.

The bases in which [C3 ] or [T3 ] are decomposed, i.e., {[C ] ; i = 1,K, k}

3 i and

{[T ] ; i = 1,K, k} are not unique. Consequently, different decompositions can be presented. In

3 i

the following we detail: the Freeman, the Huynen and the Eigenvector-eigenvalue

decompositions.

The Freeman decomposition models the covariance matrix as the contribution of three

scattering mechanisms

14

Polarimetric Decompositions

dipoles.

• Double-bounce scattering modeled by a dihedral corner reflector.

• Surface or single-bounce scattering modeled by a first-order Bragg surface scatterer.

The volume scattering from a forest canopy is modeled as the contribution from an ensemble

of randomly oriented thin dipoles. The scattering matrix of an elementary dipole, expressed in

the orthogonal linear (h,v) basis, when horizontally oriented, has the expression

⎡R 0⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ 0h Rv ⎥⎦

(56)

⎣

For a thin dipole, (58) reduces to

⎡1 0 ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢0 ⎥ (57)

⎣ 0⎦

Now, if we considerer a set of randomly oriented dipoles, characterized by the previous

scattering matrix and oriented according to a uniform phase distribution, the covariance

matrix of the ensemble of thin dipoles can be modeled by

⎡1 0 1 3⎤

[C3 ] v = f v ⎢ 0 2 3 0 ⎥⎥

⎢

(58)

⎢⎣1 3 0 1 ⎥⎦

where fv corresponds to the contribution of the volume scattering to the |Svv|2 component. The

covariance matrix [C3 ] v presents rank 3. Thus, the volume scattering can not be

characterized by a single scattering matrix of a pure target.

The second component of the Freeman decomposition corresponds to the double-bounce

scattering. In this case, a generalized corner reflector is employed to model the scattering

process. The diplane itself is not considered metallic. Hence, we consider that the vertical

surface has reflection coefficients Rth and Rtv for the horizontal and the vertical polarizations,

whereas the horizontal one presents the coefficients Rgh and Rgv for the same polarizations.

Additionally, two phase components for the horizontal and the vertical polarizations are

considered, i.e., e j 2γ h and e j 2γ v , respectively. The complex phase terms γ h and γ v account

for any attenuation or phase change effect. Hence, the scattering matrix of the generalized

dihedral is

⎡ e j 2γ h Rgh Rth 0 ⎤

[S ] = ⎢ 0 e j 2γ v ⎥

Rgv Rtv ⎦⎥

(59)

⎣⎢

which gives rise to the covariance matrix of the double-bounce scattering component. After

normalization respect to the Svv component, this covariance matrix can be written as follows

⎡α 2 0 α⎤

⎢ ⎥

[C3 ]d = fd ⎢ 0 0 0⎥ (60)

⎢α* 0 1 ⎥⎥

⎣⎢ ⎦

15

Polarimetric Decompositions

where

Rgh Rth

α = e j 2(γ h −γ v )

(61)

Rgv Rtv

and fd corresponds to the contribution of the double-bounce scattering to the |Svv|2 component

2

f d = Rgv Rtv (62)

As it can be observed, the covariance matrix [C3 ]d has rank 1, as it can be represented by the

scattering matrix given at (59).

The third component of the Freeman decomposition consist of a first-order Brag surface

scatterer modeling surface scattering. The scattering mechanism is represented by the

scattering matrix

⎡R 0⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ 0h Rv ⎥⎦

(63)

⎣

Consequently, the covariance matrix corresponding to this scattering component is

⎡β 2 0 α⎤

⎢ ⎥

[C3 ]s = fs ⎢ 0 0 0⎥ (64)

⎢ α* 0 1 ⎥⎥

⎢⎣ ⎦

where fs corresponds to the contribution of the double-bounce scattering to the |Svv|2

component

2

f s = Rv (65)

and

Rh

β= (66)

Rv

As in the case for the double-bounce scattering mechanism, since the matrix [C3 ]s presents

rank 1, therefore, it is completely represented by the scattering mechanism presented at (63).

Hence, the Freeman decomposition expresses the measured covariance matrix [C3 ] as follows

The term fv in (58) corresponds to the contribution of the volume scattering of the final

covariance matrix [C3 ] . Hence, the scattered power by this component can be written as

follows

8 fv

Pv = (68)

3

16

Polarimetric Decompositions

From (60), it can be concluded that the power scattered by the double-bounce component of

[C3 ] has the expression

(

Pd = f d 1 + α

2

) (69)

(

Ps = f s 1 + β

2

) (70)

Consequently, the scattered power Pv, Pd and Ps can be employed to generate a RGB image to

present all the color-coded polarimetric information in a sole image. Figure 6 presents an

example of the Freeman decomposition.

-30dB -15dB 0dB

Figure 6 Intensities corresponding to the Freeman decomposition Pv, Pd and Ps and the

combination of them in an RGB image. Images are shown in a dB scale.

From (68), (69) and (70) it can be observed, that the Freeman decomposition maintains the

span or total scattered power

17

Polarimetric Decompositions

2 2 2

SPAN = S hh + Svv + 2 S hv = Pv + Pd + Ps (71)

The Freeman decomposition presented in (67) presents 5 independent parameters {fv, fd, fs, α,

β} and only 4 equations. Consequently, some hypothesis must be considered in order to find

the values of {fv, fd, fs, α, β}. Figure 7 presents the scheme employed to invert the Freeman

decomposition.

{S hh

2

, Svv

2

, Shv

2

, S hh Svv* }

5 parameters

4 equations

{ f v , f d , f s ,α , β }

2

f v = 3 S hv

4 parameters

3 equations

3 parameters

3 equations

α = −1 { fd , f s , β } { f d , f s ,α } β =1

Single-bounce Double-bounce

scattering dominates scattering dominates

The Phenomenological Huynen decomposition represents the first attempt to consider

decomposition theorems for the analysis of distributed scatterers. The Huynen decomposition

considers the concept of “wave dichotomy”, exporting it to the study of distributed scatterers.

On a first stage, the phenomenological Huynen decomposition considers a particular

parameterization of a distributed scatterer. In the case of the covariance matrix, this

parametrization is

⎡ 2 A0 C −j D H + j G ⎤

⎢ ⎥

[T3 ] =⎢ C + j D B0 + B E + j F ⎥ (72)

⎢⎣ H − j G E −j F B0 − B ⎥⎦

The set of nine independent parameters of this particular parameterization allows a physical

interpretation of the target under consideration. The following list presents the information

provided by each one of the parameters:

• A0: Represents the total scattered power from the regular, smooth, convex parts of the

scatterer.

18

Polarimetric Decompositions

• B0: Denotes the total scattered power for the target’s irregular, rough, non-conex

B

depolarizing components.

• A0+ B0: Gives roughly the total scattered power.

• B0+B: Total symmetric depolarized power.

B

B

o C: Generator of target global shape (Linear).

o D: Generator of target local shape (Curvature).

• E, F: Depolarization components due to non-symmetries

o E: Generator of target local twist (Torsion).

o F: Generator of target global twist (Helicity).

• G, H: Coupling terms between target’s symmetric and non-symmetric terms

o G: Generator of target local coupling (Glue).

o H: Generator of target global coupling (Orientation).

The phenomenological Huynen decomposition expresses the measured covariance matrix

[T3 ] as follows

[T3 ] = [T0 ] + [TN ] (73)

The matrix [T0 ] refers to a pure target, that is, a target which can be also completely

characterized by a corresponding scattering matrix. Its parameterization is

⎡ 2 A0 C −j D H + j G ⎤

[T0 ] = ⎢⎢ C + j D B0T + BT ET + jFT

⎥

⎥ (74)

⎢⎣ H − j G ET + jFT B0T − BT ⎥⎦

Consequently, [T0 ] presents rank 1. The matrix [TN ] is called N-target (for symmetric

targets) and it corresponds to a distributed scatterer. Since [TN ] does not have rank equal to

1, it does not present an equivalent scattering matrix. The parameterization of [TN ] , given

(73) and (74), is

⎡0 0 0 ⎤

⎢ EN + jFN ⎥⎥

[TN ] = ⎢0 B0 N + BN (75)

⎢⎣0 EN + jFN B0 N − BN ⎥⎦

One on the main properties of the N-target [TN ] is that it is invariant under rotations of the

antenna coordinate system about the line of sight, i.e., it is roll-invariant. Mathematically, this

property can be expressed as

19

Polarimetric Decompositions

−1

⎡⎣TN (θ ) ⎤⎦ = ⎡⎣U 3R ⎤⎦ [TN ] ⎡⎣U 3R ⎤⎦

⎡1 0 0 ⎤ ⎡0 0 0 ⎤ ⎡1 0 0 ⎤

(76)

⎢ ⎥ ⎢

= ⎢0 cos 2θ sin 2θ ⎥ ⎢0 B0 N + BN ⎥ ⎢

EN + jFN ⎥ ⎢ 0 cos 2θ − sin 2θ ⎥⎥

⎢⎣0 − sin 2θ cos 2θ ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣0 EN + jFN B0 N − BN ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ 0 sin 2θ cos 2θ ⎥⎦

⎡0 0 0 ⎤

⎢ ⎥

⎡⎣TN (θ ) ⎤⎦ = ⎢ 0 B0 N (θ ) + BN (θ ) EN (θ ) + jFN (θ ) ⎥ (77)

⎢ 0 EN (θ ) + jFN (θ ) B0 N (θ ) − BN (θ ) ⎥

⎣ ⎦

As it can be observed, the rotated N-target (77) presents the same structure as the original N-

target (75).

2 A0 B0 + B

(C 2

+ D

2

) 2 A0 (H 2

+ G

2

) 2 A0

20

Polarimetric Decompositions

2 A0 (C 2

+ D

2

) 2 A0 (H 2

+ G

2

) 2 A0

Figure 8 Elements of the parameterization of the coherency matrix provided by the Huynen decomposition.

As given by (73), the Huynen decomposition factorizes the measured scattering matrix into a

rank 1 pure target [T0 ] and into a distributed N-target [TN ] . [TN ] is characterized by

presenting a rank larger than 1 and being roll-invariant.

In terms of spaces of vectors, the fact that [TN ] is roll-invariant can be interpreted as the

fact that the vector space generated by [TN ] and the vector space generated by the pure

target [T0 ] are mutually orthogonal. Additionally this orthogonality is maintained under

rotations about the line of sight. Therefore, the question which arises at this point is that

whether the structure proposed by Huynen, (73), is unique or not, in the sense that whether a

different decomposition with the same structure is possible or not.

Given an arbitrary vector q, it belongs to the orthogonal space of the rotated N-target, i.e., the

space generated by the pure target [T0 ] if

−1

⎣⎡TN (θ ) ⎦⎤ q = 0 ⇒ ⎣⎡U 3 ⎦⎤ [TN ] ⎣⎡U 3 ⎦⎤ q = 0

R R

(78)

The condition imposed by (78) is accomplished for any vector q such that

−1

⎡⎣U 3R ⎤⎦ q = λ q (79)

−1

Eq. (79) indicates that q is an eigenvector of the matrix ⎡⎣U 3R ⎤⎦ . This matrix presents the

following three eigenvectors

21

Polarimetric Decompositions

⎡1 ⎤ ⎡0⎤ ⎡0⎤

1 1

q1 = ⎢⎢0⎥⎥ q2 = ⎢1 ⎥ q =

⎢ ⎥

⎢ j⎥

(80)

2⎢ ⎥

3

2

⎢⎣0⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ j ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ 1 ⎥⎦

Consequently, (78), (79) and (80) show that there exist three ways in which the measured

covariance matrix [T3 ] can be factorized into a pure target [T0 ] and a distributed N-target

[TN ] , as proposed by Huynen in (73).

The Huynen type decomposition, fruit of choosing the vector q1, to generate the orthogonal

space of the distributed N-target, corresponds to the original decomposition proposed by

Huynen, in which the pure target [T0 ] presents the structure given by (74) and the N-target

has the structure given at (75). The normalized target vector corresponding to [T0 ] for q1 has

the following structure

⎡ 2 A0 ⎤

[T ] q1 1 ⎢ ⎥

k01 = = ⎢ C + j D ⎥ (81)

q1T * [T ] q1 2 A0 ⎢

⎣ H − j G ⎥⎦

In this case, the target vector (81) correspond to such targets where Shh+Svv↑0. The

normalized targets vectors corresponding to q2 and q3 are respectively

⎡ C − G + j H −j D ⎤

[T ] q2 ⎢ 1 ⎥

k02 = = ⎢ B0 + B − F + j E ⎥ (82)

q2T * [T ] q22 ( B0 − F ) ⎢ E − j B0 − j B − j F ⎥⎦

⎣

⎡ H + D + j C + j G ⎤

[T ] q3 1 ⎢ ⎥

k03 = = ⎢ E + j B0 + j B + j F ⎥ (83)

q3 [T ] q3

T*

2 ( B0 + F ) ⎢ B0 − B + F + j E ⎥⎦

⎣

The target vectors in (82) and (83) are associated with helical type scattering behaviors.

22

Polarimetric Decompositions

(C ) +( ) ( B0 ) ( B0 )

2 2 2 2 2 2

− G H − D + B − F + E − B − F + E

2 ( B0 − F ) 2 ( B0 − F ) 2 ( B0 − F )

(C ) +( ) ( B0 ) ( B0 )

2 2 2 2 2 2

− G H − D + B − F + E − B − F + E

2 ( B0 − F ) 2 ( B0 − F ) 2 ( B0 − F )

As given by (73), the Huynen decomposition has to be interpreted in terms of the pure target

[T0 ] and the distributed N-target [TN ] . The idea behind the Huynen decomposition is to

extract, from the measured covariance matrix, a scattering mechanism which can be

characterized by a single scattering matrix. The remainder, which is also a true covariance

matrix is considered as a noise component.

Due to the nature of the decomposition itself, it is reasonable to use the Huynen

decomposition to analyze human-made areas. This type or areas are characterized by

presenting a high density of pure targets, which can be studied, then, by the Huynen

decomposition. On the contrary, natural scenes are dominated by distributed scatterers. The

23

Polarimetric Decompositions

structure of the Huynen decomposition tends to consider this type of targets as a noise

component.

The eigenvector-eigenvalue based decomposition is based on the eigen decomposition of the

coherency matrix [T3 ] . According to the eigen decomposition theorem, the 3×3 Hermitian

matrix [T3 ] can be decomposed as follows

−1

(84)

⎡λ1 0 0⎤

[Σ3 ] = ⎢⎢ 0 λ2 0 ⎥⎥ (85)

⎢⎣ 0 0 λ3 ⎥⎦

where ∞ > λ1 > λ2 > λ3 > 0 .

The 3×3 unitary matrix [U 3 ] contains the eigenvectors u i for i=1,2,3 of [T3 ]

[U 3 ] = [ u 1 u2 u 3] (86)

T

u i = ⎡⎣cos α i sin α i cos β i e jδi sin α i cos β i e jγ i ⎤⎦ (87)

Considering the expressions (85) and (86), the eigen decomposition of [T3 ] , i.e., (84), can

be written as follows

3

[T3 ] = ∑ λi u i u *i T (88)

j =1

stands for complex conjugate. As (88) shows, the rank 3 matrix [T3 ]

can be decomposed as the combination of three rank 1 coherency matrices formed as

[T3 ]i = u i u *i T (89)

which can be related to the pure scattering mechanisms given at (87).

The eigenvalues (85) and the eigenvectors (86) are considered as the primary parameters of

the eigen decomposition of [T3 ] . In order to simplify the analysis of the physical

information provided by this eigen decomposition, three secondary parameters are defined as

a function of the eigenvalues and the eigenvectors of [T3 ] :

24

Polarimetric Decompositions

• Entropy

3

λi

H = −∑ pi log 3 ( pi ) pi = 3

(90)

i =1

∑λ

k =1

k

where pi, also called the probability of the eigenvalue λi, represent the relative importance

of this eigenvalue respect to the total scattered power, since

3

SPAN = S hh + Svv + 2 S hv = ∑ λk

2 2 2

(91)

k =1

• Anisotropy

λ2 − λ3

A= (92)

λ2 + λ3

• Mean alpha angle

3

α = ∑ piα i (93)

i =1

The eigen decomposition of the coherency matrix is also referred as the H/A/α decomposition.

The interpretation of the information provided by the eigen decomposition of the coherency

matrix must be performed in terms of the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the decomposition

or in terms of H/A/α. Nevertheless, both interpretations have to be considered as

complementary.

The interpretation of the scattering mechanisms given by the eigenvectors of the

decomposition, u i for i=1,2,3, i.e., (87), is performed by means of a mean dominant

mechanism which can be defined as follows

jγ T

u 0 = λ ⎡⎣cos α sin α cos β e jδ sin α cos β e ⎤⎦ (94)

where the remaining average angles are defined in the same way as α

3 3 3

β = ∑ pi β i δ = ∑ piδ i γ = ∑ piγ i (95)

i =1 i =1 i =1

3

λ = ∑ pi λi (96)

i =1

25

Polarimetric Decompositions

The study of the mechanism given in (94) is mainly performed through the interpretation of

the mean alpha angle, since its values can be easily related with the physics behind the

scattering process. The next list reports the interpretation of α:

• α→0: The scattering corresponds to single-bounce scattering produced by a rough

surface.

• α→π/4: The scattering mechanism corresponds to volume scattering.

• α→π/2: The scattering mechanism is due to double-bounce scattering.

The second part in the interpretation of the eigen decomposition is performed by studying the

value of the eigenvalues of the decomposition. A given eigenvalue corresponds to the

associated scattered power to the corresponding eigenvector. Consequently, the value of the

eigenvalue gives the importance of the corresponding eigenvector or scattering mechanism.

The ensemble of scattering mechanisms is studied by means of the entropy H and the

anisotropy A.

26

Polarimetric Decompositions

probability probability

1 3/7

H=0 H=0.91

A=0 A=0.5

1/7

p1 p2 p3 p1 p2 p3

probability probability

1/2 1

H=0.95 H=1

A=0 A=0

1/4

1/3

p1 p2 p3 p1 p2 p3

Figure 11 Entropy (H) and Anisotropy (A) values for four different configurations of the eigenvalues.

The entropy H determines the degree of randomness of the scattering process, which can be

also interpreted as the degree of statistical disorder. In this way:

• H→0:

λ1 = SPAN λ2 = 0 λ3 = 0 (97)

Consequently, the scattering matrix [T3 ] presents rank 1 and the scattering process

corresponds to a pure target.

• H→1:

λ1 = SPAN 3 λ2 = SPAN 3 λ3 = SPAN 3 (98)

In this situation, the scattering matrix [T3 ] presents rank 3, that is, the scattering process

is due to the combination of three pure targets. Consequently, [T3 ] corresponds to the

response of a distributed target.

• 0<H<1: In this case, the final scattering mechanism given by [T3 ] results from the

combination of the three pure targets given by u i for i=1,2,3, but weighted by the

corresponding eigenvalue.

Figure 11 presents four different configurations of the eigenvalues and the corresponding

entropy values.

The anisotropy A, (92), is a parameter complementary to the entropy. The anisotropy

measures the relative importance of the second and the third eigenvalues of the eigen

decomposition. From a practical point of view, the anisotropy can be employed as a source of

discrimination only when H>0.7. The reason is that for lower entropies, the second and third

eigenvalues are highly affected by noise. Consequently, the anisotropy is also very noisy.

Again Figure 11 presents the anisotropy value for four different configurations of the

eigenvalues. In the figure, it can be clearly observe the way anisotropy discriminate two

different configurations presenting the same value of entropy.

27

Polarimetric Decompositions

Entropy H Anisotropy A

0 45° 90°

28

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

- Cameron classification

- Lee classification based on Freeman decomposition

scattering mechanisms in the H- α plane. The key idea is that entropy arises as a natural

measure of the inherent reversibility of the scattering data and that α can be used to identify

the underlying average scattering mechanism.

Figure 1 Optical image (left), polarimetric color coded image (right)of the Oberpfaffenhofen test site.

scattering behaviors. The basic scattering mechanism of each pixel of a polarimetric SAR

image can then be identified by comparing its entropy and α parameters to fixed thresholds.

The different class boundaries, in the H- α plane, have been determined so as to discriminate

surface reflection (SR), volume diffusion (VD) and double bounce reflection (DB) along the

α axis and low, medium and high degree of randomness along the entropy axis. Detailed

explanations, examples and comments concerning the different classes can be found in the

publication from Cloude and Pottier.

Figure 2 shows the H- α plane and the occurrence of the studied polarimetric data into this

plane.

1

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

α (° )

90

45

H A

0 0.5 1

It can be seen, in Figure 3, that the largest densities in the occurrence plane correspond to

volume diffusion and double bounce scattering with moderate and high randomness. Medium

and low entropy surface scattering mechanisms are also frequently encountered in the scene

under examination.

2

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

α(°)

90

80

DR 70

6 3 1

60

50

VD 7 4 2

40

30

8 5

SR 20

10

0

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Figure 3 H- α scattering mechanism identification plane (top). Polarimetric data occurrence in the H-

α plane (bottom).

Data distribution in the H- α plane does not show, for the considered scene, distinct natural

clusters belonging to a single scattering mechanism class. Therefore, identification results

may highly depend on segmentation thresholds.

Results of the unsupervised identification procedure are presented in Figure 4.

It can be observed in Figure 4 that the proposed segmentation in the H- α plane permits to

identify in a macroscopic way the type of scattering mechanism. Agricultural fields and bare

soils are characterized by surface scattering. Scattering over forested areas is dominated by

volume diffusion while urban areas are mainly characterized by double bounce scattering. It

may be noted that the identification process slightly overestimates volume diffusion and

double bounce scattering over surfaces.

3

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

The problem of optimal segmentation over a SAR image over a fixed number of clusters may

be formulated as follows.

How to assign, in an optimal way, a SAR image pixel, p , to one of the M possible clusters

{Θ1 ,L, Θ M }, according to a SAR observable, x ?

The answer is given by Bayes optimal decision rule using the conditional probability of the

different clusters

(

Decide p ∈ Θ i if P (Θ i x ) > P Θ j x ) ∀j ≠ i (1)

A pixel is assigned to the most probable cluster conditionally to the observation of x over the

pixel under consideration.

The probability of error related to this decision is obtain from the a posteriori probabilities of

the unselected clusters by

(

P(error x) = ∑ P Θ j x P( x) ) (2)

j ≠i

It is obvious, that assigning a pixel to the cluster with the highest a posteriori probability

minimizes the conditional error probability.

The total probability is then computed using

4

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

The set of a posteriori probabilities P(Θ i x ) is generally uneasy to derive. One prefers then to

express such quantities using Bayes rule

P(Θ i x ) P( x) = P(x Θ i ) P(Θ i ) (4)

Inserting this expression in (1), the expression of the optimal decision rule becomes

Decide p ∈ Θ i if P(x Θ i ) P(Θ i ) > P(x Θ j ) P(Θ j ) ∀j ≠ i (5)

Where P(x Θ i ) is the likelihood of the observation x , given Θ i and P(Θ i ) is the prior

probability of Θ i .

Additionally, if the prior probabilities are supposed to be equal, the optimal decision rule may

written using only cluster likelihood as

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg max P(x Θ i ) (6)

A supervised segmentation scheme may be represented as a three-step process described in

the following.

First training data, separated into M distinct groups or classes, are supplied to the

segmentation algorithm. Training inputs may be :

- user supplied under the correct format

- sampled from the image under study

- sampled from SAR images acquired over other scenes

During the second phase, the segmentation algorithm learns from the training data sets how to

discriminate the M classes and establishes decision rules. In the case of supervised

segmentation based on Bayes optimal decision rule, the segmentation algorithm learns the

different statistical quantities useful to compute the expression mentioned in (6).

Once the learning phase has converged, the algorithm assigns each pixel of the SAR image

under study to one of the M clusters provided in the first phase, according to decision

procedure derived during the second step.

In the case of [S] matrix images, the SAR observation x is replaced by a 3 element complex

target vector k = [ S11 , 2 S12 , S 22 ]T .

It has been verified that when the radar illuminates an area of random surface of many

elementary scatterers, k can be modeled as having a multivariate complex circular gaussian

probability density function N C (0, [Σ]) of the form :

5

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

exp(−k [Σ]−1 k )

†

P(k ) = (7)

π q [Σ ]

where q stands for the number of elements of k , equal to three in the monostatic case,

represents the determinant, and [Σ] = E ( k k ) is the global (3×3) covariance matrix of k .

†

exp(−k [Σ i ] −1 k )

†

P(k Θ i ) = (8)

π q [Σ i ]

With [Σ i ] the covariance matrix of cluster Θ i computed during the learning phase. In

practice the actual value of [Σ i ] remains unknown and the covariance matrix is replaced by

its maximum likelihood estimate [Σˆ ] defined as i

1

[Σˆ i ] = ∑ kk

†

(9)

ni p∈Θ i

function, L(k Θ i ) instead of the expression given in (8)

(

L(k Θ i ) = − ln [Σˆ i ] − tr [Σˆ i ] −1 k k − q ln π

†

) (10)

(

Where tr [Σˆ i ] −1 k k

†

) stands for the trace of [Σˆ ] i

−1

k k and equals k [Σˆ i ]−1 k .

† †

The logarithm function being strictly increasing with its argument, the optimal decision rule is

transformed, in the case of [S] matrix segmentation, to

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg min d k [Σˆ i ] with ( )

( )

d k [Σˆ i ] = + ln [Σˆ i ] + tr [Σˆ i ] −1 k k( †

) (11)

( )

Where the variable d k [Σˆ i ] may be assimilated to a statistical distance, derived from the

opposite of log-likelihood function without constant terms.

During the segmentation process a pixel is then assigned to the minimum distance cluster,

having the closest statistics.

The supervised segmentation algorithm may be summarized as follows

6

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

over M custers

fro m training data sets

1

[Σˆ i ] =

Ni

∑ k k † ∈ Θi

d (k , Θi ) < d ( k / Θ j ) j = 1,L, M j ≠i

It has been shown that assuming that target vectors have a N C (0, [Σ]) distribution, a sample

n-look covariance matrix [C ] = 1 / n ∑ k k , follows a complex Wishart distribution with n

†

n−q

n qn [T ] exp(−tr (n[Σ] −1 [T ]))

p ([T ]) =

K (n, q) [Σ]

n

q

with K (n, q) = π q ( q −1) / 2 ∏ Γ(n − i + 1)

i =1

A development similar to the one presented in the case of scattering matrices leads to the

following decision rule

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg max L [T ] [Σˆ i ] with ( )

( ) ( )

L [T ] [Σˆ i ] = − n ln [Σˆ i ] − ntr [Σˆ i ] −1 [T ] + qn ln n + (n − q) ln [T ] − ln K (n, q )

(13)

With [Σˆ i ] , the maximum likelihood estimate of the coherency matrix defined as

1

[Σˆ i ] =

ni

∑ [T ]

p∈Θi

(14)

Taking the opposite of the lower expression of relation (13) and removing terms that do not

depend on the cluster under test, the optimal decision rule becomes

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg min d [T ] [Σˆ i ] with ( )

( ) (

d [T ] [Σˆ i ] = + ln [Σˆ i ] + tr [Σˆ i ] −1 [T ] ) (15)

7

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

It may be noted that, since covariance and coherence matrices are related by a similarity

transformation, the form of the statistical distance expressed in (15) is invariant under a

change from coherency matrix form to covariance matrix form and (15) is adapted to both [T]

and [C] representations.

The supervised segmentation algorithm may be summarized as follows

Initialize pixel distribution

over M custers

fro m training data sets

1

[Σi ] =

ˆ

Ni

∑[T ] ∈ Θi

d ([T ], Θi ) < d ([T ] / Θ j ) j = 1, L, M j≠i

The performance of a supervised segmentation process is generally estimated via a confusion

matrix computed from the training data.

Each element of the training data set is processed through the supervised classifier. The

confusion matrix summarizes the percentage of pixels belonging to an original cluster, Θ i ,

effectively affected to one of the M possible clusters, Θ j , with j = 1L M . The confusion

matrix of an ideal, error-free, segmentation is diagonal.

User-defined training data sets are generally oriented towards the discrimination of different

kinds of medium and may not represent all scattering behaviors encountered over a natural

scene. Therefore, some parts of a SAR image may have statistics that do not fit with any of

the proposed cluster ones. In this case, the assignment of the corresponding pixels may lead to

irrelevant interpretation of the segmentation results. One possible solution to this problem

consists in creating a reject class. A pixel is assigned to this reject class if it is too much

distant, from a statistical point of view, from all the learning clusters.

A possible metric may be defined from the statistical distances defined in (11) and (15). A

pixel belongs to the reject class if its distance to the closest cluster exceeds a given factor of

the within-class distance standard deviation.

This decision process may be summarized as follows

(

Decide p ∈ Θ rej if d [T ] [Σˆ i ] > σ di .r )

with Θ i = Arg min d [T ] [Σˆ i ] ( ) (16)

8

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

2

⎛ 1 ⎞

and σ 2

di =

1

Ni

∑ ( )

d [T ] [Σˆ i ] − ⎜⎜

2

∑ ( )

d [T ] [Σˆ i ] ⎟⎟

p∈Θ i ⎝ Ni p∈Θ i ⎠

Where the variable r represents a user-defined rejection factor.

It has been showed, in former paragraphs that a pixel can be assigned to a cluster in an

optimal way, according to the following decision rule.

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg max P(x Θ i ) (17)

cannot be estimated since its calculation requires to compute the ML estimate of the cluster

coherency matrix from the samples contained in the cluster.

An optimal solution to the unsupervised segmentation problem consists in distributing the

pixels of an image over the set of M clusters so as to maximize the global likelihood defined

as the product of all individual likelihood functions.

A rigorous resolution requires to test all the possible combinations and to select the one

corresponding to the maximum joint likelihood value. This optimal solution cannot be applied

due to the unrealistic computational load it involves.

Alternative solutions based on sub-optimal iterative optimization procedures are generally

preferred.

synopsis :

9

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

over M clusters

Co mpute each

cluster center

to the closests cluster

Convergence ?

No

Yes

The algorithms begins with the initialization of the image pixel distribution over the M

clusters. This distribution may be done in a random way or according to user specifications.

Once all pixels are affected, the different cluster centers are computed according to the

processed data type. Each pixel is then affected to the closest cluster according to a distance

measure. The convergence of the algorithm is then tested using stability metrics. If a

termination criterion is met, the segmentation stops, otherwise a new iteration starts over from

the class center computation step.

The K-means algorithm aims to optimize a global function by iteratively optimizing local

expressions. It is known this type of techniques may get stuck into locally stable states and

fail to determine the optimal pixel distribution. The initialization of the pixel distribution into

N classes is then a critical stage of the K-mean clustering algorithm. An adequate

initialization permits a fast convergence and provides correctly segmented clusters.

The convergence of the algorithm is evaluated by testing a condition of termination. Such a

criterion may be defined from the estimation of the classification quality, or consist in a

maximum number of iterations or in a sufficiently low number of pixels that are differently

classified from one iteration to the other.

The K-means clustering algorithm may be adapted to the segmentation of [T] or [C]

polarimetric representations as shown on the following synopsis

10

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

over M custers

1

[Σˆ i ] =

Ni

∑[T ] ∈ Θi

d ([T ], Θi ) < d ([T ] / Θ j ) j = 1, L, M j≠i

Convergence ?

No

Yes

The class center initialization step consists in computing each cluster coherency matrix ML

estimate. Pixels are then affected to a cluster according to the ML distance measure derived in

(15).

The particularity of the identification procedure based on H and α , introduced in a former

paragraph, resides in the estimation of the type of observed media from a physical

interpretation of canonical scattering mechanisms using robust indicators. Nevertheless, the

analysis of natural scenes using this unsupervised approach may reach some limitations:

- The arbitrarily fixed linear decision boundaries in the H- α plane may not fit data

distribution. A natural cluster corresponding to similar targets may lie across a frontier in the

decision plane. In this case, pixels with very similar characteristics may be assigned, in an

almost random way, to different classes due slightly different locations in the H- α plane.

This effect can be observed in Figure 4 where the variability in natural media polarimetric

features lead to noisy classification results.

- Even if the computation of H and α requires fully polarimetric data, these two parameters

do not represent the whole polarimetric information. The use of other indicators such as the

span or specific correlations coefficients may improve the classification results in a significant

way.

Segmentation procedures based on the whole coherency matrix statistics permit to overcome

the limitations mentioned above. Nevertheless, it is shown in the following, that the physical

interpretation of the scattering phenomenon permits to enhance in a significant way the

performance of statistical segmentation schemes.

11

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

with the results of the unsupervised identification of a scattering mechanism, using H, A and

α . This initialization provides 8 stable clusters relating to the underlying physical scattering

mechanism.

over 8 clusters

compute [Σˆ i ] Segmented H-α plane

to a cluster Θi

Convergence ?

No

Yes

C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8

presented in Figure 10. The main kinds of natural media are clearly discriminated by the

Wishart H- α segmentation scheme. This unsupervised classification algorithm modifies the

12

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

decision boundaries in an adaptive way to better fit the natural distribution of the scattering

mechanisms and takes into account information related to the back-scattered power.

The ML Wishart segmentation may be further improved by explicitly including the anisotropy

information during the segmentation procedure. As mentioned previously, the anisotropy

indicates the relative importance of secondary mechanisms obtained from the expansion of a

coherency matrix. This polarimetric indicator is particularly useful to discriminate scattering

mechanisms with different eigenvalue distributions but with similar intermediate entropy

values. In such cases, a high anisotropy value indicates two dominant scattering mechanisms

with equal probability and a less significant third mechanism, while a low anisotropy value

corresponds to a dominant first scattering mechanism and two non-negligible secondary

mechanisms with equal importance.

Among the different approaches tested, the best way to introduce the anisotropy information

in the classification algorithm consists in implementing two successive segmentation

procedures as shown in Figure 11.

over 8 clusters

A > 0.5 ⇒ Χm → Χm +8

⇒ 16 clusters

Anisotropy

Polarimetric data are first segmented according to the algorithm presented in the former

paragraph. Once this procedure has converged, the 8 resulting clusters are split into 16 ones

13

Polarimetric SAR data Classification

by comparing the anisotropy of each pixel to a threshold fixed to 0.5. The 16 segments are

then used to initialize a second Wishart ML segmentation procedure.

C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8

Oberpfaffenhofen scene. The introduction of the anisotropy in the clustering process permits

to split large segments into smaller clusters discriminating small disparities in a refined way.

Several kinds of agricultural fields are separated. The runway and other low intensity targets

are distinguished from other surfaces. Buildings are discriminated from other types of

scatterers present in urban areas. The Wishart H-A- α classification scheme gathers into

segments pixels with similar statistical properties, but does not provide any information

concerning the nature of the scattering mechanism associated to each cluster.

14

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

The ASAR instrument may be configured to acquire data according to one of the Alternating

Polarization (AP) modes.

Classical fully polarimetric SAR devices perform data acquisition with two emission and

reception polarization channels. ASAR, instead, emits signals on a single polarization channel

(H or V) while reception is performed on one or two orthogonal polarizations (H and/or V).

The different possible configurations are summarized in the following figure.

PP Received Emitted

configuration polarizations polarization

PP 1 H

PP2 V

1

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

H H

PP3

V V

Partial polarization data sets are delivered under different formats adapted to specific types of

application.

Among the different AP data formats, three are supported by PolSARpro and can be exploited

to provide an interpretation of the polarimetric properties of scattering.

• Alternating Polarization mode Single-look complex (APS) data format

configuration

2

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

Fully polarimetric quantities are measured from two acquisitions performed with orthogonal

polarization states (generally H and V) in order to form each pixel scattering matrix [S]

The coherent scattering matrix modifies the polarization of an incident wave according to the

following expression

E s = [S ] E i (1)

⎡S S hv ⎤

[ S ] = ⎢ hh ⎥ = [E sh E sv ]

⎣ S vh S vv ⎦

(2)

⎡S S hv ⎤ ⎡1⎤ ⎡ S hh ⎤ ⎡ S hh S hv ⎤ ⎡0⎤ ⎡ S hv ⎤

= ⎢ hh ⎥ = ⎢ ⎥ = ⎢S =

S vv ⎦ ⎢⎣0⎥⎦ ⎣ S vh ⎦ S vv ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣1⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ S vv ⎥⎦

with E sh and E sv

⎣ S vh ⎣ vh

where E sh and E sv correspond to the scene response to normalized incident horizontally and

vertically polarized waves respectively.

APS format images are composed of coherent scattering coefficients and my then be

expressed directly from the expression given in (2) according to the selected PP configuration

• PP1

A pixel is represented by a Jones vectors formed with two of the scattering matrix coefficients

⎡S S hv ⎤ ⎡1⎤ ⎡ S hh ⎤

E PP1 = ⎢ hh =

S vv ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣0⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ S vh ⎥⎦

(3)

⎣ S vh

• PP2

A pixel is represented by a Jones vectors formed with two of the scattering matrix coefficients

3

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

⎡S S hv ⎤ ⎡0⎤ ⎡ S hv ⎤

E PP 2 = ⎢ hh =

S vv ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣1⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ S vv ⎥⎦

(4)

⎣ S vh

• PP3

A pixel is represented by a two element complex vector formed with two of the scattering

matrix coefficients

⎡1⎤

[S hh S hv ] ⎢ ⎥

E PP 3 = ⎣0⎦ = ⎡ S hh ⎤

⎡0 ⎤ ⎢ S ⎥

(5)

[S vh S vv ] ⎢ ⎥ ⎣ vv ⎦

⎣1⎦

One may note that, oppositely to the vector E s , the Jones vectors E sh and E sv are received in

a polarization basis.

It is then possible to represent E sh and E sv into any desired polarization basis using classical

Special Unitary transformation matrices

′

E = [U (φ ,τ , α )] E (6)

Such a transformation may also be applied to E s in PP3 configuration, but without the

physical interpretation associated to the formalism of changes of polarization basis. This

might be particularly useful to perform a transformation similar to the one linking [C] and [T]

matrices

′ 1 ⎡ 1 1⎤ 1 ⎡ S hh + S vv ⎤

Es = ⎢− 1 1⎥ E s = ⎢ ⎥ (7)

2⎣ ⎦ 2 ⎣ S vv − S hh ⎦

APP and APG format images are composed of intensities and my then be expressed from the

square moduli of the Sinclair matrix elements, according to the selected PP configuration

• PP1

⎡S 2

⎤

I PP1 = ⎢ hh 2⎥ (8)

⎢⎣ S vh ⎥⎦

• PP2

⎡ S vv 2 ⎤

I PP 2 =⎢ 2⎥ (9)

⎣⎢ S hv ⎥⎦

• PP3

4

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

⎡S 2

⎤

I PP 3 = ⎢ hh 2 ⎥ (10)

⎢⎣ S vv ⎥⎦

One may note that APP and APG mode data do not exactly correspond to intensities derived

from equivalent APS data, due to the slant range to ground range mapping transformation.

As it was seen in the former paragraph, APP and APG format data consist of incoherent

intensity values that are fit to incoherent speckle filtering.

The formulation of the boxcar and Lee filters can be adapted to intensity variables.

~

Filtered intensity vector estimates, I PPi , are constructed by computing the sample mean over

each pixel neighborhood, defined by a sliding window of ( N w × N w ) pixels

~

I PPi = I PPi Nw (11)

The adaptation of Lee MMSE filter to APP and APG data formats leads to the following

intensity vector estimate expression

~

(

I PPi = I PPi N + k I PPi − I PPi N

w w

) (12)

var I − E 2 ( I )σ n2

k=

var I [1 + σ n2 ]

(13)

1

with σ = the a priori speckle variance

2

n

L

where I represents the sum of the components of the vector I PPi .

The two components of the intensity vector I PPi may be filtered independently by applying

separate scalar filters.

APS format data consist of coherent scattering coefficients that cannot be directly used as

inputs of a speckle filter.

5

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

Similarly to the case of target vectors filtering, a incoherent covariance matrix may be built

from the APP coherent vector, E PPi , as

†

(14)

The express of the boxcar and Lee filters are similar to those introduced for the (3 × 3) [C]

and [T] matrices.

~

Filtered estimates, [C 2 ] PPi , are constructed by computing the sample mean over each pixel

neighborhood, defined by a sliding window of ( N w × N w ) pixels

~

[C 2 ] PPi = [C 2 ] PPi Nw (15)

The adaptation of Lee MMSE filter to APP and APG data formats leads to the following

intensity vector estimate expression

~

( )

[C 2 ] PPi = [C 2 ] PPi N + k [C 2 ] PPi − [C 2 ] PPi N

w w

(16)

var span − E 2 ( span )σ n2

k=

var span [1 + σ n2 ]

(17)

1

with σ = the a priori speckle variance

2

n

L

where span represents the trace of the covariance matrix.

decomposed in order to extract a pure PP representation.

A [C 2 ] may be decomposed on its eigenvector basis as follows

where [ Λ 2 ] and [V2 ] represent ( 2 × 2) real eigenvalue and special unitary eigenvector

matrices respectively.

Each unitary eigenvector, vi , may be parameterized using 3 real parameters

The eigenvalue set may also be parameterized using two real variables

λ1 + λ 2 = Tr[C 2 ] = span and H = − P1 log 2 ( P1) − P 2 log 2 ( P2 ) (20)

6

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

λi

with Pi =

λ1 + λ2

where H represents the scattering mechanism entropy while Pi is the pseudo-probability of

one of the decomposed orthogonal scattering mechanisms, by convention P1 ≥ P2 .

The anisotropy, A, may also be used to characterize the scattering phenomenon

P1 − P2

A= (21)

P1 + P2

One may note that the joint use of H and A is redundant since the characterization of a two

probability set requires only a single real parameter.

The physical signification of H and A is identical to the one derived for the decomposition of

(3 × 3) [C] and [T] matrices.

Similarly to the (3 × 3) case, an average scattering mechanism may be rebuilt from the pseudo-

probability set as

(α , δ ) = P1 (α 1 , δ 1 ) + P2 (α 2 , δ 2 ) (22)

On the opposite, the interpretation of (α , δ ) is totally different from one PP configuration to

the other.

It has been demonstrated, in the chapter dedicated to polarimetric SAR data classification, that

statistical supervised classification of data requires the derivation of data ML statistics.

APS format consist of complex two-element vector composed of coherent scattering

coefficients and may be represented, in a general way, as follows

⎡S ⎤

E = ⎢ pq ⎥ (23)

⎣ S rs ⎦

where the subscripts p, q, r, s represent polarization channels.

It has been verified that when the radar illuminates an area of random surface of many

elementary scatterers, E can be modeled as having a multivariate complex circular gaussian

probability density function N C (0, [Σ]) of the form

exp(− E [Σ] −1 E )

†

P (k ) = (24)

π q [Σ ]

7

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

where q stands for the number of elements of E , equal to three in the monostatic case,

represents the determinant, and [Σ] = E ( E E ) is the global (3×3) covariance matrix of E .

†

exp(− E [Σ i ] −1 E )

†

P (E Θ i ) = (25)

π q [Σ i ]

With [Σ i ] the covariance matrix of cluster Θ i computed during the learning phase. In

practice the actual value of [Σ i ] remains unknown and the covariance matrix is replaced by

its maximum likelihood estimate [Σˆ ] defined as

i

1

[Σˆ i ] = ∑ EE

†

(26)

ni p∈Θi

function, L(E Θ i ) instead of the expression given in Erreur ! Source du renvoi introuvable.

(

L(E Θ i ) = − ln [Σˆ i ] − tr [Σˆ i ]−1 E E − q ln π

†

) (27)

The logarithm function being strictly increasing with its argument, the optimal decision rule is

transformed, in the case of E vector segmentation, to :

( ) (

d E [Σˆ i ] = + ln [Σˆ i ] + tr [Σˆ i ]−1 E E

†

) (28)

( )

Where the variable d E [Σˆ i ] may be assimilated to a statistical distance, derived from the

opposite of log-likelihood function without constant terms.

The supervised segmentation algorithm may be summarized as follows

8

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

over M custers

fro m training data sets

1

[Σˆ i ] = ∑ E E ∈ Θi

†

Ni

d ( E, Θ i ) < d ( E / Θ j ) j = 1,L, M j≠i

It has been shown that assuming that E vectors have a N C (0, [Σ]) distribution, a sample n-

look covariance matrix [C 2 ] = 1 / n ∑ E E † , follows a complex Wishart distribution with n

n

n−q

n qn [C 2 ] exp(−tr (n[Σ] −1 [C 2 ]))

p ([C 2 ]) = n

K ( n, q ) [ Σ ]

(29)

q

with K (n, q) = π q ( q −1) / 2 ∏ Γ(n − i + 1)

i =1

A development similar to the one presented in the case of coherent vectors leads to the

following decision rule

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg max L [C 2 ] [Σˆ i ] with ( )

( ) ( )

L [C 2 ] [Σˆ i ] = −n ln [Σˆ i ] − ntr [Σˆ i ] −1 [C 2 ] + qn ln n + (n − q) ln [C 2 ] − ln K (n, q)

(30)

With [Σˆ i ] , the maximum likelihood estimate of the coherency matrix defined as

1

[Σˆ i ] =

ni

∑ [C

p∈Θ i

2 ] (31)

Taking the opposite of the lower expression of relation (30) and removing terms that do not

depend on the cluster under test, the optimal decision rule becomes :

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg min d [C 2 ] [Σˆ i ] with ( )

d ([C 2 ] [Σˆ i ] = + ln [Σˆ i ] + tr [Σˆ i ]−1 ( [C ])2

(32)

9

ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarisation Case

Initialize pixel distribution

over M custers

fro m training data sets

1

[Σˆ i ] =

Ni

∑ [C2 ] ∈ Θi

d ([C2 ], Θi ) < d ([ C2 ] / Θ j ) j = 1,L , M j≠i

The segmentation presented is simplified by assuming that APP and APG intensities are

independent. In this case, their joint probability is given by

n−q

n qn [C I 2 ] exp(−tr (n[Σ I ] −1 [C I 2 ]))

p ([C I 2 ]) =

K ( n, q ) [ Σ I ]

n

(33)

q

with K (n, q) = π q ( q −1) / 2 ∏ Γ(n − i + 1)

i =1

Where [C I 2 ] and [Σ I ] are ( 2 × 2) real matrices with off-diagonal elements equal to zero and

built as follows

⎡I 0⎤ ⎡ E (I ) 0 ⎤

[C I 2 ] = ⎢ 1 ⎥ and [Σ I ] = ⎢ 1

E (I 2 )⎥⎦

(34)

⎣0 I2 ⎦ ⎣ 0

The optimal decision rule for APP and APG format data is then given by

(

Decide p ∈ Θ i if Θ i = Arg min d [C I 2 ] [Σˆ I i ] with )

] + tr ([Σˆ ) (35)

d ([C I 2 ] [Σˆ I i ] = + ln [Σˆ I i Ii ]−1 [C I 2 ]

10

1

Shane R. CLOUDE

AEL Consultants

26 Westfield Avenue, Cupar, Fife, KY15 5AA

Scotland, UK

Tel/Fax : +44 1334 650761

e-mail : aelc@mac.com, web : http://web.mac.com/aelc

1 Introduction..................................................................................................................................2

2 Background Theory .....................................................................................................................3

3 Algorithms for Optimum Interferogram Generation ...................................................................6

4 POLInSAR for Bare Surface scattering .......................................................................................9

5 POLInSAR for Random Volume scattering ..............................................................................10

6 POLInSAR : 2-layer combined surface and random volume scattering....................................11

7 Algorithms for Vegetation Parameter Retrieval ........................................................................15

8 Forest Height Inversion Algorithm ............................................................................................16

8.1 DEM differencing ..............................................................................................................16

8.2 Height compensated for extinction ....................................................................................17

8.3 Height Compensated for Vertical Structure.......................................................................18

8.4 Height from Coherence Amplitude only............................................................................18

8.5 Robust Inversion Accounting for Extinction/Vertical Structure........................................19

9 POLInSAR Data Processing ......................................................................................................20

9.1 Step 1 : Reading POLInSAR Data Files ............................................................................20

9.2 Step 2 : Generating an Interferogram.................................................................................22

9.3 Step 3 : Flat Earth Removal ...............................................................................................23

9.4 Step 4: Vertical Wavenumber Estimation..........................................................................23

9.5 Step 5: Complex Coherence Estimation ............................................................................26

9.6 Step 6: Coherence Bias and Convergence .........................................................................27

9.7 Step 7: Algorithm 1 : DEM differencing ...........................................................................28

9.8 Step 8: Algorithm 2 : Coherence Amplitude Inversion .....................................................31

9.9 Step 9 : Ground Phase estimation using dual polarisations ...............................................32

9.10 Step 10: Algorithm 3: Phase and Coherence Inversion .....................................................33

9.11 Step 11: Polarisation Selection ..........................................................................................36

9.12 Step 12: Generalisation to the Coherence Loci..................................................................37

10 Conclusions............................................................................................................................39

11 POLInSAR Bibliography : August 2005 ...............................................................................39

2

1 INTRODUCTION

In this course you will learn about a radar remote sensing technique called polarimetric

interferometry [Cloude 1997,1998,2004, Papathanassiou 1998]. When used with an imaging

synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system, it is usually termed Polarimetric Interferometric SAR or

POLInSAR for short [Papathanassiou 2001]. POLInSAR has important applications in the remote

measurement of vegetation properties such as forest height [Papathanassiou 2005] and biomass

[Mette 2004] and developing future applications in agriculture [Williams 2005, Preiss 2005],

snow/ice thickness monitoring [Dall 2003, Papathanssiou 2005] and urban height and structure

applications [Schneider 2005]. As its name suggests, the technique combines two separate radar

technologies, polarimetry and interferometry. The former involves switching the polarisation state

of transmit and receive channels to measure differences in backscatter due to orientation, shape and

material composition [Cloude 1996, Pottier 2005]. This leads ultimately to measurement of the 2x2

complex scattering matrix [S], from which we can synthesise the response of the image pixel to

arbitrary polarisation combinations. Such radars are termed S-matrix or Quadpol systems (since

four complex channels are measured by the radar, usually all possible combinations of horizontal

and vertical linear polarisations HH, HV, VH and VV respectively)

On the other hand, radar interferometry [Bamler 1998] involves coherently combining

signals from two separated spatial positions (defining the so called baseline of the interferometer) to

extract a phase difference or interferogram. In radar this can be achieved in two main

configurations, so called along-track interferometry, which involves time displacements between

separated antennas along the flight direction of the platform leading to velocity estimation.

Alternatively we can perform across-track interferometry, involving lateral separation of antennas

and leading to spatial information relating to the elevation of the scatterer above a reference ground

position. In POLInSAR interest centre mainly on across-track geometries but in principle it can be

applied to along track configurations as well.

POLInSAR differs from conventional interferometry in that it allows generation of

interferograms for arbitrary transmit/receive polarisation pairs. It turns out that the phase of an

interferogram changes with the choice of polarisation and consequently we can extract important

bio and geophysical parameters by interpreting this change in the right way. We shall see that

consequently the combination of interferometry with polarimetry is greater than the sum of its parts

and that POLInSAR allows us to overcome severe limitations of both techniques when taken alone.

This is especially true in the important area of remote sensing of vegetated land surface, where

polarimetry suffers from the inherent high entropy problem [Cloude 1996] while standard

interferometry remains underdetermined i.e. the interferogram depends on many possible physical

effects, no one of which can be identified from the data itself [Treuhaft 1996, 2000]. POLInSAR

offers a window on a new way to overcome these limitations. In this course we develop the theory

step by step, illustrating each stage with processed data and allowing the user to repeat the

processing stages

The course begins with a review of the basis theory and notation before running through a

12 step practical training course covering most of the major steps involved in processing and

analysis of POLInSAR data.

3

2 BACKGROUND THEORY

POLInSAR algorithms make use of signal coherence (or equivalently phase and local phase

variance) rather than backscattered power [Zebker 1992, Hagberg 1995,Askne 1997, Touzi 1999].

For this reason we begin with a review of the techniques and problems associated with the

estimation of coherence from radar data. We follow closely the approach developed in [Touzi

1999]. Starting with any two co-registered single look complex (SLC) data channels s1 and s2 the

coherence is formally defined as shown in equation 1

E(s1s*2 )

γ˜ = γe iφ = - 1)

E(s1s1* ). E(s2 s*2 )

where E(..) is the expected value and 0 ≤ γ ≤ 1. In practice the sample coherence is frequently used

as a coherence estimate of 1, as shown in equation 2

L

∑s s *

1i 2i

δ˜ = δe iχ = L

i=1

L

- 2)

∑s s . ∑s*

1i 1i s *

2i 2i

i=1 i=1

where i is the sample number and we have only a finite number L independent signal measurements

available. Equation 2 represents the maximum likelihood (ML) estimate of coherence and under

some general statistical assumptions provides an estimate that is asymptotically unbiased. For

jointly complex Gaussian processes (s1,s2) the probability density function (pdf) of δ can then be

derived as a function of the true coherence value γ and the number of samples L as shown in 3

[Touzi 1999]

where F is a special mathematical function called the hypergeometric function [Touzi 1999]. More

significant for POLInSAR is estimation of the bias in the coherence magnitude, derived from 3 as

the first moment of δ and shown in equation 4

Γ(L)Γ(1+ 12 )

E(δ ) = 1

3 F2 (3/2,L,L;L + 2 ;1;δ )(1− δ )

2 2 L

- 4)

Γ(L + 12 )

where pFq is the generalised hypergeometric function. The behaviour of this function can also be

obtained through straightforward numerical simulation of Gaussian distributed signals (so avoiding

the need to calculate pFq), shown for example in figure 1. Here we see that the estimate is

consistently biased towards higher values (in the extreme case of 1–look estimation the coherence

estimate is equal to unity and so always overestimated). However, importantly for us, the bias

decreases with increasing number of independent samples L and with increasing underlying

coherence γ.

A second important consequence of equation 3 is estimation of the variance of the sample

coherence magnitude. This is required to assess the precision of parameters estimated from the

coherence and impacts on the accuracy of derived products such as vegetation height. The most

4

accurate way to estimate this variance is as shown in equation 5. Note that the second term can be

estimated from equation 3 while the first is shown in equation 6

2 2

- 5)

Γ(L)Γ(1+ 1)

E(δ 2 ) = 3 F2 (2,L,L;L + 1;1;δ )(1− δ )

2 2 L

- 6)

Γ(L + 1)

Similar considerations lead us to the following expression for the pdf of the corresponding

interferometric phase, shown in 7

p( χ | φ, γ ) = 1 + F(L,1; ;β 2 ) where ⎨ -7)

L+ 2π 2 ⎩β = γ cos( χ − φ )

2 π Γ(L)(1− β )2 2

which can be used to formally estimate the variance of the phase estimate as shown in 8

π

varφ = ∫χ 2

p( χ | φ, γ )dχ - 8)

−π

For a small number of looks, the hypergeometric functions can be replaced by simpler

trigonometric functions [Lee 1994], but for L > 4, as generally required for POLInSAR

applications, the full calculation is required. While these equations provide the most accurate

method of assessing bias and complex coherence variance, often we assume zero bias (by using

sufficient averaging) and estimate the variance by making use of simpler equations for speedier

computation.

L= 4

L= 8

L= 50

In particular, the Cramer-Rao bounds provide lower limits on the variance for coherence and phase

and have been derived in [Seymour 1994] to provide the simpler formulae shown in equation 9

(1− γ 2 ) 2 1− γ 2

varγ = ≤ var(δ ) varφ = ≤ var( χ ) - 9)

2L 2Lγ 2

5

In conclusion we note that for phase based processing, it is always better to operate at high

coherence and avoid low coherences, the latter involving not only increased variance but also

severe bias issues that can distort the phase information. It is a key limitation of polarimetry that

scattering by vegetation leads to low coherences for all polarization channels (because of so called

depolarization). This severely limits our ability to use polarimetric phase information over

vegetated land surfaces. Interferometry on the other hand allows us to partially control coherence

via baseline selection. POLInSAR exploits this advantage to obtain high coherence in multiple

polarization channels.

The above considerations for coherence estimation are important in POLInSAR, the major

distinguishing feature of which is that we add an extra stage in the construction of the two SLC

channels s1 and s2. In general, for a QUADPOL data set, we take as input the three calibrated SLC

images shh, shv and svv and generate projections of these onto user defined complex weight vectors

w1 and w2 before calculating the coherence defined as shown in equation 10

s1 = w11 + w12 hh vv + w13 2s1hv = w1T .k1 ⎪⎪

2 2 ⎬

(s 2

+ 2

) (s 2

− svv2 )

+ w 2 2shv = w 2 .k 2 ⎪⎪

s

s2 = w 2

1

+ w22 3 2

hh vv hh T

2 2 ⎭ - 10)

E(s1s*2 )

⇒ γ˜ (w1,w 2 ) =

E(s1s1* ). E(s2 s*2 )

The weight vectors w1 and w2 define user selected scattering mechanisms at ends 1 and 2 of the

across-track baseline. In general w1 and w2 can be different and both parameterised as complex

unitary vectors of the form shown in 11 [Cloude 1996, 1998]

T

w2 sin α cos βe iε - 11)

Table I shows important examples of the weight vectors for coherence estimation in the commonly

used linear, Pauli and circular bases. This table can be used together with equation 10 to generate

interferograms in different polarisation channels. However, it is a feature of POLInSAR algorithm

development that use is often made of more general w vectors than those shown, derived for

example as eigenvectors for coherence optimisation [Cloude 1997, Tabb 2001,2002, Colin 2003,

Gomez Dans 2005] or through a prior model studies of scattering from vegetated terrain [Williams

1999,2000]. For this reason we need to keep the more general notation of equation 11 so as to be

able to consider arbitrary vectors in the formation of an interferogram. We now turn to consider

such optimisation algorithms in more detail and to briefly assess their implications for coherence

estimation and validation.

Polarisation α β ε μ

Selection

HH 45o 0o 0 0o 0.707 0.707 0

HV 90o 90 o 0 0o 0 0 1

VV 45o 180o 0 0o 0.707 -0.707 0

HH+VV 0o 0o 0 0o 1 0 0

HH-VV 90o 0o 0 0o 0 1 0

LL 90o 45 o 0 90o 0 0.707 0.707i

LR 0o 0o 0 0o 1 0 0

RR 90o 45 o 0 -90o 0 0.707 -0.707i

Table I: Example scattering mechanisms used for POLInSAR

6

Polarimetric Interferometry is a special case of multi-channel coherent radar processing [Reigber

2000]. Such problems are characterised by multi-dimensional covariance matrices [Lee 1994, 1999,

2003]. In polarimetric SAR (POLSAR) for example, interest centres on the 3 x 3 hermitian

coherency matrix [T], unitarily equivalent to the covariance matrix [C] as employed in multivariate

statistical analyses [Lee 1999]. This is the basic building block in polarimetric interferometry and so

we designate this matrix as Λ 1 to indicate how it relates to fully polarimetric measurements but

made at only 1 spatial position. In single baseline POLInSAR we then add a second measurement at

a displaced position 2. This is now characterised by a 6 x 6 coherency matrix Λ 2 as shown in

equation 12. We see that this 6 x 6 matrix can be naturally partitioned into 3 sub matrices each of

size 3 x 3. This formulation then scales in a natural way for multi-baseline POLInSAR by

expansion of the governing coherency matrix Λ N to a 3N x 3N complex system (4N x 4N for

bistatic multi-baseline POLInSAR) as shown in 12

⎡ T1 Ω12 K Ω1N ⎤

⎡ T1 Ω12 ⎤ ⎢ ⎥

⎢ Ω12

*

T2 L Ω 2N ⎥

. Λ1 = [T] → Λ 2 = ⎢ * ⎥ → ΛN = - 12)

⎣Ω12 T2 ⎦ ⎢ M M O M ⎥

⎢ * ⎥

⎣Ω1N Ω2N L TN ⎦

*

Returning now to the important case of Λ2, two of the sub-matrices, T1 and T2 are Hermitian and

relate to the polarimetry from positions 1 and 2 while the third Ω12 is a complex 3 x 3 matrix that

contains information about the variation of interferometric coherence and phase for all possible

weight vectors w1 and w2 as shown in equation 13.

⎡ T11 Ω12⎤ *T

w1 Ω12 w 2

Λ 2 = ⎢ *T ⎥ ⇒ γ˜(w1,w 2 ) = - 13)

⎣Ω12 T22 ⎦ w1*T T11 w1 . w *T

2 T22 w 2

the first case if we know the vectors w1 and w2 in advance, then we can directly estimate the

coherence using equation 10 with the same InSAR fluctuation statistics and bias outlined in 4 and 8.

However, often we wish to determine ‘optimum’ weight vectors from the data itself and it follows

from 13 that to do this we require estimates of the three 3 x 3 matrices T11, T22 and Ω12. This opens

up a much wider discussion about the fluctuation statistics and bias arising from the fact that only

estimates and not true matrix values can be used in 13. For example, to estimate the submatrices we

must first estimate the full 6 x 6 coherency matrix Λ 2. This estimate, Z, is obtained as a

straightforward extension of equation 2 and is shown in 14, where we have L independent S-matrix

(and hence scattering vectors u) available [Lee 1999].

1 L

[Z ] = ∑ u j u*Tj - 14)

L j =1

For Gaussian statistics, this estimate [Z] of Λ follows a complex Wishart distribution [Lee 1999], so

that its pdf is given for the general q dimensional case by equation 15

7

pN ([Z] | Λ) =

K(L,q)det([Λ]) L - 15)

K(L,q) = π 0.5q(q −1)

Γ(L )..Γ(L - q +1)

For interferometry we have seen q =2 leads to the statistics shown in 4 and 8. For S matrix

polarimetry q = 3, while for single baseline POLInSAR q = 6. One key point to note is that the

minimum number of data samples (Lmin) required for adequate estimation of covariance matrices in

multi-variate problems increases with the dimensionality q. Hence there are ever increasing

demands on the number of looks required to obtain good estimates of derived products from multi-

dimensional coherency matrix analysis.

One important application of this approach is the calculation of the optimum coherences in

POLInSAR. The most general formulation of this was first presented in [Cloude 1997, 1998] and is

summarised in equation 16. Here we first state the problem mathematically, which is to choose w1

and w2 so as to maximise the coherence magnitude, defined from the complex coherence as a

function of the three sub-matrices T11 T22 and Ω12 as shown. This can be mathematically solved by

using a Lagrange multiplier technique as shown and leads to the calculation of the required w

vectors as eigenvectors of a pair of matrices, themselves defined as products of the composite

matrices. Hence in order to calculate these we require first estimation of the 6x6 matrix Λ2.

*T

w1 Ω12 w 2

max

*T *T

w1 w 2

w1 T11 w1 .w 2 T22 w 2

(

L = w1 Ω12 w1 + λ1 w1 T11 w1 −1 + λ2 w 2 T22 w 2 −1

*T *T

) ( *T

)

- 16)

⎧ ∂L

⎪⎪ ∂ w *T = Ω12 w 2 + λ1T11 w1 = 0

⇒⎨ 1

⎪ ∂L*T = Ω12*T

w1 + λ2T22 w 2 = 0

⎪⎩ ∂ w 2

⎧T −1Ω*T T −1Ω w 2 = λ1λ*2 w 2

⇒ ⎨ 22−1 12 11−1 12

⎩ T11 Ω12T22 Ω12 w1 = λ1λ2 w1

*T *

To illustrate the increased sample requirements we show a simple example based on numerical

estimation of the eigenvalues and eigenvectors in equation 16 for an underlying coherency matrix

Λ2 of the form shown in 17

⎡ 1 0 0 0.9e

i π4

0 0 ⎤

⎢ iπ

⎥

⎢ 0 1 0 0 0.6e 3

0 ⎥

⎢ 0 0 1 0 0 0.4e 2 ⎥

iπ

[Λ 2 ] = ⎢ −i π4 ⎥ - 17)

⎢0.9e 0 0 1 0 0 ⎥

⎢ 0 0.6e

−i π3

0 0 1 0 ⎥

⎢ −i π ⎥

⎣ 0 0 0.4e 2 0 0 1 ⎦

which we see has a trivial solution with eigenvectors w1 = w2 equal to the basis vectors (1,0,0),

(0,1,0) and (0,0,1) respectively and the optimum triplet of coherences are 0.9 0.6 and 0.4. If we now

8

use this matrix to generate complex Gaussian noise with the same underlying coherency matrix and

use 16 to estimate the eigenvalues for varying number of looks then we obtain the results shown in

figure 2. Here we plot the coherence estimates as a function of increasing number of looks. We

show two sets of curves. In black we show the estimates based on a prior knowledge of the w

vectors, using the projection and coherence estimation of equation 10. We see good convergence

with the absence of any significant bias (each value on the curve is obtained as the mean of 256

realisations of the process so as to reduce the variance and hence expose any underlying bias

issues). In the second case we show estimates based on the assumption of no a prior knowledge of

the vectors i.e. when the vectors themselves must also be estimated from the raw data. Here we see

a much slower convergence onto the true values with significant bias for a low number of looks. We

see that the first 2 coherences are consistently overestimated while the third is underestimated. Only

after a large number of looks does the bias reduce. For example for 10% coherence accuracy we

require in excess of 40 looks, even for high coherence values. However, with care and sufficient

averaging it has been shown that such optimisation can lead to better phase estimation for digital

elevation model (DEM) generation [Nico 2000 ]

vectors (black) and vectors derived from eigenvalue estimation (colour)

In order to obtain an optimization approach that has less bias for a given number of samples, it is

necessary to reduce the effective dimensionality of the problem. Several authors have proposed

adopting the a prior assumption that w1 = w2. i.e. that the optimum coherence vector remains

unknown but we assume that it doesn’t change with baseline [Sagues 2000, 2001, Flynn 2002,

Pascual 2002, Colin 2003, Gomez Dans 2005 ]. This idea is supported on physical grounds for short

baselines in the absence of temporal decorrelation i.e. for single pass or low frequency sensors

where the scattering does not change significantly over the effective angular width of the baseline.

This approach calls for a new mathematical formulation of the optimization process. One approach

is based on a straightforward extension of the Lagrange multiplier technique to constrain w1 = w2

9

[Gomez Dans 2005]. This leads by manipulation of 16 to a set of w vectors given as eigenvectors of

the composite matrix shown in 19

(T11 + T22 )

−1

(Ω

12 + Ω12

*T

)w = −λ w - 19)

One problem with 19 is that the eigenvalue is not the coherence, but its real part and so the

optimization is phase sensitive. For this reason a second related approach based on maximization of

the phase difference as a function of polarization vector w. has been developed. In this case the

optimum vector is found by solving a phase parameterised eigenvalue problem of the form shown

in 20. [Flyn 2002, Colin 2003 ]

⎧ 1

⎪[Ω H ] = 2 (Ω12e + Ω12 e )

iφ1 *T −iφ1

[Ω H ]w = λ[T]w ⎨ -20)

1

⎪ [T] = (T11 + T22 )

⎩ 2

This has been shown to be equivalent to calculating the numerical radius of the complex matrix

1 1

− −

A = T 2 Ω12T 2 . A proposed algorithm for finding this optimum state has been presented in [Colin

2003, 2005]. One drawback in this approach is that φ1 is a free parameter and so either search or

iterative methods must be used to secure the global optimum. This adds to the computational

complexity for each pixel.

A third related approach has been proposed based on a sub-space Monte Carlo searching

algorithm [Sagues 2000,2001]. This limits the search for the optimum (again assuming w1 = w2) to

the diagonal elements of Ω12 i.e. to copolarised or crosspolarised combinations across the whole

Poincaré sphere. This again acts to effectively limit the dimensionality of the problem and

demonstrates less bias than the full Lagrange multiplier method. Finally, phase centre super-

resolution techniques based on the ESPRIT algorithm have also been proposed to find the optimum

w vectors. [Yamada 2001].

In all these cases a sub-optimum solution is obtained compared to the unconstrained

Lagrange multiplier method but often with better numerical stability. Given the general increased

processing overhead of employing optimization, it is of interest to investigate the potential benefits

of employing an optimization approach over simple linear, Pauli and circular options (table I). To

do this we look at a set of analytical solutions for the full optimizer.

In the previous section we formulated an important optimisation problem in POLInSAR,

namely to investigate the maximum variation of coherence with polarisation by solving an

eigenvalue problem. In this section we look at some canonical problems of interest in the remote

sensing of land surfaces and try and use the mathematical solutions obtained to conclude as to the

potential of optimisation versus standard coherence estimation in POLInSAR. We consider three

important problems, scattering from non-vegetated surfaces, random volume scattering and finally a

2-layer surface+volume mixture which more closely matches the behaviour of natural vegetated

land surfaces.

We start by considering the simplest case of non-vegetated terrain. Under the assumption of surface

scattering only, the polarimetry can then be characterised as a reflection symmetric random media

with a coherency matrix [T] of the form shown in equation 21 [Cloude 1996, 2004 ]. The

10

interferometry (following range spectral filtering [Gatelli 1994] and assuming no temporal or SNR

decorrelation ) is characterised by a single parameter, the ground phase φ as shown in 21.

K = T11−1Ω12T11−1Ω12

*T

- 21)

−1 −1

⎡t11 t12 0⎤ ⎡t11 t12 0 ⎤ ⎡t11 t12 0⎤ ⎡t11 t12 0 ⎤ ⎡1 0 0⎤

⎢ ⎥ iφ ⎢ * ⎥⎢ ⎥ −iφ ⎢ * ⎥ ⎢ ⎥

= ⎢t12* t 22 0 ⎥ e ⎢t12 t 22 0 ⎥.⎢t12* t 22 0 ⎥ e ⎢t12 t 22 0 ⎥ = ⎢0 1 0⎥

⎢⎣ 0 0 t 33 ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ 0 0 t 33 ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ 0 0 t 33⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ 0 0 t 33⎥⎦ ⎢⎣0 0 1⎥⎦

It follows from equation 16 that the optimum coherences are obtained as eigenvectors of the matrix

[K] as shown. By multiplying terms we see that the matrix [K] is just the 3 x 3 identity matrix. This

implies that all polarisations have the same interferometric coherence and POLInSAR plays no role

in surface scattering problems. This is not quite true in practice for two important reasons: in

practice there will be polarisation dependent SNR decorrelation. In fact, recently [Hajnsek 2005] it

has been suggested that such SNR coherence variations with polarimetry be used for quantitative

InSAR surface parameter estimation. This formulation assumes that the scattering from the surface

occurs within a thin layer. If there is significant penetration into the surface then volume scattering

effects can occur and this will lead to volume decorrelation effects (see below). These effects have

been observed for land ice [Dall 2003] and snow studies [Papathanassiou 2005] where the surface is

non-vegetated but covered by a low loss scattering layer. Nonetheless, equation 21 demonstrates

how for bare surface scattering POLInSAR plays only a secondary role. More interesting for

application of natural land surfaces is to consider the presence of volume scattering due to

vegetation cover.

In case we consider scattering from a volume, interest centres on the special case of a random

volume i.e. one with macroscopic azimuthal symmetry [Cloude 1996]. In this case the polarimetric

coherency matrix [T] is diagonal. However more care is required over consideration of the

interferometric phase in Ω12. We now must include the effects of volume decorrelation due to the

random vertical distribution of scatterers [Treuhaft 1996,2000, Cloude 2003]. In this case the

interferometry must include a complex integral I2 normalised by a real integral I1 as shown in

equation 22.

K = T11−1Ω12T11−1Ω12

*T

1 ⎢ 11 ⎥ ⎢ ⎥1⎢ ⎥ ⎢

t

⎥

= ⎢0 1

0 ⎥I2 ⎢ 0 t 22 0 ⎥ ⎢0 1

0 ⎥I2*⎢ 0 t 22 0⎥

I1 ⎢ t 22

1 ⎥ ⎢

I t 22

- 22)

⎣0 0 t 33 ⎦ ⎣

0 0 t 33 ⎥⎦ 1 ⎢⎣ 0 0 1 ⎥ ⎢

t 33 ⎦ ⎣

0 0 t 33 ⎥⎦

2 ⎡1 0 0⎤

I2 ⎢ ⎥

= ⎢ 0 1 0⎥

I1

⎢⎣0 0 1⎥⎦

Here we again see that [K] is proportional to the identity matrix but this time the eigenvalues (all

equal) are given by a ratio of integrals over the vertical distribution. This ratio is just the volume

11

decorrelation displaying an increase in phase variance and a vegetation bias to the ground phase

determined by two parameters, namely the height of the vegetation and its mean extinction

coefficient σ as shown in equation 23. Here the vertical interferometric wavenumber kz [Bamler

1998] appears as a function of the baseline to wavelength ratio B/λ as well as the sensor height H

and angle of incidence θ.

2σh v h v 2σz'

−

e cosθ o

∫e cosθ o

e ikz z' dz'

2σ e iφ (zo )

hv 2σ z'

∫e

I ikz z' cosθ o

γ˜ (w) = 2 = 0

2σh v h v 2σz'

= e dz'

I1 − cosθ o (e 2σ hv / cosθ o −1)

e cosθ o

∫e cosθ o

dz'

0

0

- 23)

⎧ 2σ

⎪ p=

p e p1 hv −1 ⎪ cosθ

= where ⎨ p1 = p + ikz = γ˜ v

p1 e phv −1 ⎪ 4 πΔθ 4 πBn

⎪⎩ kz = ≈

λ sin θ λH tan θ

where Δθ is the angular separation of the baseline end points from the surface pixel. Note that the

vegetation is characterized by a height hv and mean extinction rate σ as shown, both parameters of

interest in remote sensing. Again however we note that this coherence is independent of

polarisation, [K] has 3 degenerate eigenvalues and POLInSAR plays no role in the analysis of

random volume scattering. This statement has to be modified in the presence of oriented volumes

[Treuhaft 1999, Cloude 2000] i.e. ones with a preferred orientation of scattering elements such as

occur in some agricultural crops and even in forestry applications at low frequencies [Cloude 2000].

In such cases POLInSAR does indeed play a role for volume scattering, with [K] developing 3

distinct eigenvalues. However for the treatment of forestry applications at L band and above such

orientation effects are small and the random volume assumption is justified [Papathanssiou 1999,

2000].

In conclusion, both bare surfaces and random volumes lead to a degenerate eigenvalue

spectrum for the matrix [K]. It is only when we combine these two effects together that we start to

see the potential benefits of employing POLInSAR processing.

SCATTERING

In the general case when combined surface and volume scattering occurs then POLInSAR

coherence optimisation becomes useful as we now demonstrate. In this 2-layer case or random-

volume-over-ground (rvog) model approach [Treuhaft 2000, Cloude 2003], the observed coherence

is given by a mixture formula as shown in 24. Here the ground phase φ and complex volume

coherence γ˜ v are combined with a new real parameter μ, the ratio of effective surface (i.e. all

scattering contributions with a phase centre located at φ) to volume scattering. In effect when μ = 0

we resort to the case of random volume scattering while when μ tends to infinity then we resort to

the surface scattering case. Interest centres on the intermediate case because here we have an

unknown but constant complex number contribution from the volume scattering combined with a

polarisation dependent surface term. By isolating the polarisation dependent terms the resulting

coherence then lies along a straight line in the complex coherence plane as shown in 24.

12

γ˜ v + μ(w ) μ(w )

γ˜(w ) = e

iφ

= e iφ [γ˜ v + (1− γ˜ v )] - 24)

1+ μ(w ) 1+ μ(w )

This straight line model has been successfully tested on varied forest data sets [Isola 2001,

Papathanassiou 2001, 2005] and seems to be a good fit for L and P band POLInSAR forestry

applications. It is interesting to note how the coherence varies as we adjust the single parameter μ

along this line. Figure 3 illustrates three important cases. In all three we first note how the

coherence starts for small μ at some value depending on the volume scattering contribution (0.8 in

the example). It then initially decreases with increasing surface contribution until reaching a turning

point after which it increases with μ, always approaching unity as μ tends to infinity.

In figure 3 we superimpose three important special cases of the eigenvalue spectrum of [K]

for this scenario. In the top we show the case when μ is always small (i.e. when there is strong

volume scattering with high extinction masking the surface contributions). Here we see that as we

adjust polarisation (w) then μ will also change and the optimiser has an incentive to select the

minimum μ channel to maximise coherence.At the other extreme, when μ is large and surface

scattering dominates, we see that the optimiser has an incentive instead to maximise μ in order to

maximise coherence. A more interesting case (and one that occurs often in practice for L band

forestry applications) is the intermediate zone when the variation of μ (the μ spectrum) includes the

turning point. In this case the coherence can be maximised by either increasing or decreasing μ

depending on circumstances.

We make two important conclusions from this, firstly that in the mixed surface + volume

scattering case the coherence varies with polarisation and so optimisation plays a role in POLInSAR

analysis. Secondly we see that we cannot simply associate the maximum coherence with for

example the maximum value of μ. Both maxima and minima of μ can lead to the optimum

coherence, depending on the circumstances. However it follows that if we can estimate the μ

spectrum for any problem then we can compare the max/min with the values for the standard

channel (linear, Pauli etc) to quantify the potential benefits of employing optimisation techniques.

Determination of the extreme points of the μ spectrum is related to a classical problem in

radar polarimetry, namely contrast optimisation [Novak 1990]. The solution to this is obtained as

the eigenvalues of the product of the inverse volume times the surface polarimetric coherency

matrices as shown in 25.

⎡ ⎤⎫

⎡1 0 0⎤ ⎢1 0 0 ⎥⎪

⎢ ⎥ 1 ⎢ 1 ⎥⎪ ⎡ ⎤

TV = mI1⎢0 κ 0⎥ ⇒ Tv = −1

⎢0 0 ⎥⎪ ⎢ t11 t12 0⎥

mI1 ⎢ κ ⎥⎪⎪

⎢⎣0 0 κ⎥⎦ 1 ⎥⎬ ⇒ T −1T = 1 ⎢ t12 ⎥

*

t 22

⎢0 0 ⎢ 0⎥ - 25)

⎣ κ ⎦⎪ I1m ⎢ κ κ

v s

⎥

⎡t11 t12 0⎤ ⎪ ⎢0 0

t 33 ⎥

⎢ ⎥ ⎪ ⎣ κ⎦

Ts = ⎢t12* t 22 0 ⎥

⎪

⎢⎣ 0 0 t 33 ⎥⎦ ⎪⎭

Under the assumption of a random volume and reflection symmetric surface scattering component,

the eigenvalues of this matrix can be determined analytically as shown in equation 26.

13

⎧ ⎛ 2 2 ⎞

⎪ μ = 1 ⎜ t + t 22 + ⎛⎜ t − t 22 ⎞⎟ + 4 t12 ⎟ ⎧ iδ e iφ o (γ v + μ1 )

⎪ 1 2I1m ⎜ 11 κ ⎝ 11 κ ⎠ κ ⎟⎠ ⎪ γ1e 1 =

⎪ ⎝ 1+ μ1

⎛ 2 ⎞ ⎪

⎪ 1 ⎜ t 22 ⎛ 2

t 22 ⎞ 4 t12 ⎟ ⎪ iδ 2 e (γ v + μ 2 )

iφ o

⎨μ2 = t11 + − ⎜ t11 − ⎟ + ⇒ ⎨γ 2e = - 26)

⎪ 2I1m ⎜ κ ⎝ κ ⎠ κ ⎟ ⎪ 1+ μ2

⎝ ⎠ iφ o

⎪ 1 ⎛ t 33 ⎞ ⎪ iδ 3 e (γ v + μ 3 )

⎪ μ3 = ⎜ ⎟ ⎪γ 3e = 1+ μ3

⎪ I1m ⎝ κ ⎠ ⎩

⎩

Equally importantly, the eigenvectors of this matrix indicate the w vectors that should be employed

in POLInSAR to secure these extreme coherence values. We note from 26 that the optimum

contrast solutions are not generally the simple HH, HV and VV channels and this supports

investigation of optimisation techniques based on full quadpol data acquisition for POLInSAR

Processing.

14

μ3 μ2 μ1

μ3 μ2 μ1

μ3 μ2 μ1

Figure 3 : Variation of Coherence with small (top), large(centre) and intermediate (lower) μ values

15

We have seen in equation 26 that the coherence of vegetated land surfaces depends on several

important vegetation and surface parameters. The two most important of these are the mean

vegetation height and the true ground topographic phase. These two are important products for

scientific and commercial applications in their own right but also offer the possibility of estimating

important secondary products such as vegetation biomass [Mette 2004]. Here we summarise the

main algorithms used for generation of vegetation height and ground topography products from

single baseline POLInSAR.

In general, we obtain POLInSAR products by employing model based parameter estimation,

whereby using a scattering model M with parameters p we make observations of a set o and then

obtain estimates of the parameters by inverting the model so that formally we can write

p = M −1 o - 27)

where the inverse is often approximated by using a least squares approach so that the parameters are

chosen so as to minimise the difference between the observations and the model predictions. In our

case M is of the form given by the ‘rvog’ 2-layer coherence model so that we can formulate 27 as

shown in equation 28

iδ 1

e iφ o (γ (hv ,σ ) + μ1 ) ⎫ ⎛φo ⎞

γ1e = = f1 (φ o ,hv ,σ ) ⎪ ⎜ ⎟

1+ μ1 ⎪ ⎜ hv ⎟ ⎛ γ˜1 ⎞

γ 2e iδ 2 =

e iφ o

(γ (h v , σ ) + μ 2 ) ⎪ ⎜ σ ⎟ ⎜ ⎟

= f 2 (φ o ,hv ,σ ) ⎬ ⇒ p = ⎜ ⎟,o = ⎜ γ˜ 2 ⎟ - 28)

1+ μ2 ⎪ ⎜ μ1 ⎟ ⎜ ⎟

⎝ γ˜ 3 ⎠

iδ 3

e (γ (hv ,σ ) + μ3 )

iφ o

⎪ ⎜ μ2 ⎟

γ 3e = = f 3 (φ o ,hv ,σ )⎪ ⎜ ⎟

1+ μ3 ⎭ ⎝ μ3 ⎠

Note that we have 6 parameters and 6 observations (3 complex coherences). It is clear also that we

should choose the three coherence values to be as different as possible so as to maximise stability of

the inversion. This can be achieved either through physical knowledge of the problem (e.g. using

HV for the volume channel and HH for a surface dominated channel) or via use of an appropriate

optimizer as discussed in equation 26. Of particular importance as products are the first two

elements of p, namely ground topography and mean vegetation height, although the m estimates

have recently been proposed for foliage penetration [Cloude 2004] and surface parameter estimation

[Cloude 2005]. We can obtain estimates of these (i.e. invert M) via various inversion strategies as

we now show.

To start we need to estimate the phase φο. There are two basic ways to do this. The first is to

select a polarisation channel via choice of a weight vector ws where it is assumed μ is very large. At

P-band for example HH is often employed [Cloude 2000]. At L band HH can again be used or HH-

VV if Quadpol data is available. In this case φ̂ the estimate of φο is then simply obtained as

φˆ = arg(γ˜ w )

S

- 29)

The problem here is to find the best polarisation wS. Extensive analysis of L and P band data sets

have shown that in general there is no single wS that yields an unbiased estimate of φο. For this

16

reason a second class of algorithms have been developed where we attempt residual bias removal

using the ‘rvog’ model by employing a pair of complex coherence values as follows.

As equation 28 represents a straight line in the complex plane it follows that one simple

algorithm is to employ a straight line fit to a pair of coherence values at polarisations wS and wV,

where the latter is volume dominated and the former surface dominated. The intersection of this line

with the unit circle of the complex coherence plane yields 2 candidate points for the ground phase.

To resolve the ambiguity between these two points, it must be assumed in advance that the wS

combination has a phase centre closer to the ground than wV In this case we can solve for φo by

using the first two equations (for γ1 and γ2) in 28 and setting μ1 = 0. This leads to a quadratic

equation as shown in 30. In a more general approach, coherences for 3 or more polarisation

combinations (w vectors) can be combined to yield an over-determined least squares estimate of the

line fit. Either a simple standard least squares fit between the real and imaginary or a total least

squares fit to the 2-D problem can be employed. This LS line is then used to find the 2 intersection

points with the unit circle and again the ambiguity is resolved by allocating a rank ordering to the

coherence values. Usually it is assumed that HV is higher in the canopy than HH and this can be

used to resolve the ambiguity. Note however that for a small number of looks and low coherences

such a strategy may be noisy (see figure 21).

φˆ = arg(γ˜ w − γ˜ w (1− Lw )) 0 ≤ Lw ≤ 1

V S S S

−B − B 2 − 4 AC

AL2w S + BLw S + C = 0 ⇒ Lw S = - 30)

2A

2 2

A = γ˜ w S −1 B = 2Re((γ˜ wV − γ˜ w S ).γ˜ *w S ) C = γ˜ wV − γ˜ w S

Having obtained an estimate of the ground phase φο. the second stage is then to estimate the height

There are 3 main approaches used to estimate vegetation height from POLInSAR data:

In this approach we employ the same idea as used in the estimation of the ground phase to isolate a

polarisation channel that scatters from the top of the canopy and hence generate a height estimate

directly as shown in equation 31

hv = , kz = ≈ - 31)

kz λ sinθ λRsin θ

where wV is a user selected polarisation, assumed to be located at the top of the vegetation. Often

this is taken to be HV, as this channel is dominated by volume scattering. Alternatively, phase

optimisation based on the ESPRIT algorithm [Yamada 2001] or numerical radius estimation [Colin

2005] can be used. Note however that HV phase centre can lie anywhere between half the tree

height and the top of the canopy itself. The exact location depends on two properties of the

vegetation, namely the mean wave extinction and vertical canopy structure variation. In case the

trees have a high thin canopy then extinction is small but the phase centre is high due to the

structure. On the other hand, when the canopy extends over the full tree height then the phase centre

can be at half the true height for low density (small extinction) through to the top of the canopy for

17

dense vegetation (high extinction). This ambiguity is inherent to single baseline methods and to

combat this we need to employ model based correction methods as we now consider.

In this approach we use the extinction variation to compensate both density and structure variations

but obtain a reliable estimate of height [Cloude 2002, Papathanassiou 2001]. In this way we

sacrifice accuracy of retrieval of extinction for robustness in the height parameter. To do this we use

the algorithm shown in 32. Here we make use of the previously estimated ground phase and the full

‘rvog’ model to match the model against observation of a coherence in a channel γ(w), which we

expect to be volume dominated. However, in doing so we have no idea of the surface-to-volume

scattering ratio in that channel. Consequently there are an infinity of possible candidate ‘volume-

only’ points along the line. These are parameterised by the parameter 0 ≤ λ ≤ 1 in equation 32. If λ

= 0 then we assume that γ(w) is the volume only coherence itself (μ = 0). At the other extreme the

volume-only point can lie on the unit circle at the far end of the coherence line with phase φ2 as

shown in 32.

p e p1 hv −1

h v ,σ

( ˆ

)

min L1 (λ,w ) = γ˜ (w) + λ e iφ 2 − γ˜ (w) − e iφ

ˆ

p1 e phv −1

⎧ 2σ

⎪ p= - 32)

⎪ cosθ 4 πΔθ 4 πBn

where ⎨ p1 = p + ik z ,k z = ≈

⎪φˆ = arg(γ˜ − γ˜ 1− L ) λ sinθ λRsin θ

⎪⎩ 2 w V w S w V

( )

In order to resolve these multiple solutions the user must select a value of λ. The usual choice is to

set λ = 0 by assuming that w = wV corresponds to a state with μ = 0 (HV for example), in which

case inversion simplifies as shown in 33.

⎧

p e p1 hv −1 ⎪ p = 2σ

min L1 (λ = 0) = γ˜ w V − e iφ

ˆ

where ⎨ cos θ - 33)

h v ,σ p1 e phv −1 ⎪⎩ p1 = p + ik z

In this expression kz and θ are known from the radar geometry and there are 2 unknowns, hv and σ.

As stated above, the parameter σ absorbs variations in density and structure of the vegetation and

hence tends to be noisy. Equation 33 can be applied to invert real data in one of 2 ways, either by

iterative search methods (such as the simplex method), starting with an initial guess and then

converging on the minimum norm solution, or by use of look up tables (LUT). In the latter case the

range of extinction values used in the LUT should be extended to accommodate variations of

structure as well as expected extinction rates for the radar centre frequency. Failure to do this can

lead to LUT boundary effects causing apparent saturation of the estimate. A way to overcome this

LUT limitation will be presented in equation 37. Note that since the coherence and phase are both

required to obtain a solution, then this approach is sensitive to calibration errors, especially in

coherence [Cloude 2002]. However this approach has demonstrated, for airborne and chamber

based data, the best height retrieval accuracy of all POLInSAR algorithms to date [Mette 2004,

Papathanassiou 2005, Sagues 2000].

18

As an alternative strategy we can fix the extinction at some mean value σ appropriate for the radar

frequency and then ascribe all variations in volume coherence to vertical structure. One way to do

this is to use empirical extinction relationships published in the literature and derived from a mean

of airborne measurements on different forest types [Bessette 2001]. This leads to a relation of the

form shown in equation 34, where A is the 2-way total extinction (in dB), θ the angle of incidence, f

the frequency in MHz and α and β regression coefficients. These are shown in table II for H and V

polarisations. Note that these relationships are derived for low frequency operation (valid for L

band and below). We see that in fact there is a slight differential extinction with VV having a higher

extinction than HH. However the effect is small and in practice we can ignore this and take the

mean extinction for input to the ‘rvog’ model.

A cos θ = α . f β - 34)

Attenuation factors

HH 0.18 0.53

VV 0.3 0.47

Table II :Mean Extinction Regression Parameters

Relations such as this, or more direct EM modelling of propagation extinction in random media

[Williams 2000], can be used to estimate the mean extinction rate in dB/m for an estimated canopy

thickness. The simplest way to then model variations in vertical structure is to allow for an offset

canopy from the reference ground phase [Cloude 2001,2002]. In this way height estimation is

augmented by a second parameter, canopy thickness d (0 ≤ d ≤ hv) in a modified ‘rvog’ model

inversion as shown in 35.

⎧

iφˆ ikz ( h v − d ) p e

p1 d

−1 ⎪ p = 2σ

min L1(λ = 0) = γ˜ w v − e e where ⎨ cosθ - 35)

h v ,d p1 e pd −1 ⎪⎩ p1 = p + ikz

This model has been applied to height retrieval for tree species with high thin canopies such as

mature Scots Pine in the Glen Affric region of Scotland [Cloude 2001 ].

In the discussion around equation 30, we highlighted one potential problem with ground phase

estimation in low coherence regions, namely that in come circumstances it can be difficult to

resolve the ambiguity between the two intersection points on the unit circle. In these cases, two

height solutions can be found for the same point. To avoid errors of this type we can isolate such

points by checking solutions for both intersection points and flagging those that suggest ambiguous

height solutions. However we then need to employ an alternative height estimation algorithm on

these points. One possible technique is to ignore the phase of the coherence completely and to select

a polarisation channel with expected low surface to volume scattering ratio (HV for example). The

coherence amplitude in this channel is then compared with the random volume prediction to obtain

a height estimate. One limitation of this method is that the estimate remains sensitive to density and

vertical structure variations. Two main options are available, in the first the extinction is set to zero

and we obtain the simple ‘sinc’ coherence model. In the second we can employ a mean extinction as

in table II. In any case, the height estimate is then obtained as a solution of the following equation:

19

⎧ 2σ

p e −1

p1 h v ⎪ p=

min L1 = γ˜ w v − where ⎨ cosθ

hv p1 e phv −1 ⎪ p = p + ik ,k = 4 πΔθ ≈ 4 πBn - 36)

⎩ 1 z z

λ sinθ λRsin θ

As it ignores phase and is sensitive to extinction and structure variations, this method is the least

robust of the algorithms, but as stated above its main role has been as a back up solution when other

approaches fail.

We can use the above observations to develop a hybrid approach based on fusion of the coherence

amplitude and DEM differencing algorithm. This algorithm is much faster and easier to implement

than the full ‘rvog’ inversion (equation 32) and yet is also robust to variations in extinction or

vertical structure as we now demonstrate. Although based on an approximation, this algorithm

nonetheless gives height estimates within 10% accuracy, matching the bounds achievable with

current air and space borne sensors [Papathanassiou 2005].

The algorithm requires selection of two interferograms, one for a surface dominated channel

ws and the second for a volume dominated channel wv. The forest height can then be estimated as

shown in equation 37

arg(γ˜ w v ) − φˆ 2sinc −1 ( γ˜ wv )

hv = +ε

kz kz

where

- 37)

φˆ = arg(γ˜ wV ( )

− γ˜ w S 1− Lw S ) 0 ≤ Lw S ≤ 1

−B − B 2 − 4 AC

AL2w S + BLw S + C = 0 ⇒ Lw S =

2A

2 2

A = γ˜ w S −1 B = 2Re((γ˜ w V − γ˜ w S ).˜γ *w S ) C = γ˜ w V − γ˜ w S

We see that the height is obtained as a sum of 2 components. The first is just the height from phase

or DEM difference between the estimated ground topography point and estimated volume only

complex coherence. Importantly, unlike the case in equation 31, this polarisation need not be at the

top of the vegetation and to compensate this, the height estimate is augmented by the second

coherence amplitude term. This is obtained by matching the observed coherence amplitude to the

simple zero extinction ‘sinc’ model. This stage requires comparison to a 1-D LUT, but unlike the

extinction LUT in equation 33, its range is set by the first zero of the sinc function. In this way all

observed coherences can be matched to an effective height and no LUT boundary effects occur.

Choice of the factor ‘ε’ weighting the two components is very important and should be chosen to

provide robustness to extinction variations. In the zero extinction case it is easy to show that it

should be chosen as 0.5, in which case equation 37 gives the exact result for height, regardless of

canopy offset structure. In the more general nonzero extinction case ε should be reduced. In the

limit of infinite extinction ε tends to zero and the phase centre term tends to the true height.

However, practical extinction levels at L band and below are less than 1dB/m (see equation 34). In

this case we have found that choice of ε = 0.4 keeps the height error variations with extinction

20

below 10%. By adopting a constant ε value we then avoid problems of matching extinction to local

variations and hence save considerable computation time.

Given its balance between accuracy and ease of computation, we adopt equation 37 as our standard

test algorithm for tree height estimation. We now demonstrate its effectiveness by application to

POLInSAR test data.

In the previous section we covered in some detail the theoretical background to POLInSAR. based

vegetation height and ground topography estimation, culminating in a robust and efficient algorithm

in equation 37. Here we illustrate and reinforce the ideas introduced by giving an example of a full

data processing chain. The data we use is from a 3-D coherent SAR simulator, details of which can

be found in [Williams 1999, 2000, 2005,Cloude 2004,2005]. We choose an L band vegetated scene

at 45 degrees angle of incidence containing 3 separate layers. The first is a rough dielectric ground,

modelled as a tilted Bragg scattering surface. Above this is a short 0.5m vegetation layer modelling

understorey. Both these layers cover the whole scene of 100m x 100m. Finally over the central part

of the image (56m x 56m) we place a random canopy of branches, similar in structure to a hedge i.e.

without major trunk elements. This canopy forms the main source of volume decorrelation in the

scene and its regular height of 10m provides a convenient check of the height retrieval accuracy of

the various algorithms introduced earlier. The test scenario has the geometry shown in figure 1.

Here we see the flat underlying ground with the 10m hedge in the centre of the scene. This layer is

comprised of a random Gaussian distribution of branches with mean length of 1.5m and standard

deviation of 0.2m with a density or mean volume fraction of 0.2. The L band signal (λ = 0.23061m)

illuminates the scene at θ = 45 degrees incidence from an altitude of 3km, similar to the geometry

used by the airborne E-SAR system from DLR in Germany [Papathanassiou 1997]. A 10m

horizontal offset baseline is used for the interferometry, again reflecting the typical flight geometry

used in repeat pass L band POLInSAR by the ESAR system. The SAR simulator allows

convolution of the scattered field with an instrument point spread function, chosen in this case with

a resolution of 0.6905m in azimuth and 1.3811m in ground range. The image pixel size is then

sampled at 0.5m x 0.5m in ground range and azimuth. These values are typical of those used for

airborne sensors.

The first step in POLInSAR is to prepare the appropriate data files. As we need to employ phase

information, use is made of single look complex (SLC) data files as opposed to multilook amplitude

products. Note also that the well-known Stokes matrix compression scheme as used by JPL-

AIRSAR, although useful for polarimetry, is not suitable for POLInSAR studies. As a consequence

POLInSAR requires three calibrated (for both radiometry and polarimetry) SLC data files for each

spatial position (usually HH, HV and VV). In common with conventional interferometry, the

second spatial position (slave track) defining the offset baseline needs to be co-registered with the

first (master track). This processing step is common to all polarisation channels and will lead to a

small residual loss of coherence due to misalignment errors of the tracks (usually around 1/10 of a

pixel accuracy). Such errors (and those associated with signal to noise and quantisation) need in

practice to be assimilated into the design of POLInSAR systems. A suggested framework for this

has been presented in [Krieger 2005, Cloude 2005]. In practice, the largest error source in

POLInSAR has been shown to be temporal decorrelation [Papathanassiou 2003]. In this tutorial

however we assume perfect co-registration and ignore such effects. In the simulator perfect co-

21

registration is possible due to the exact geometry employed and temporal effects can be avoided by

maintaining exact scatterer locations between baseline end points.

Hence for a full POLInSAR analysis we require six SLC data files, three from the master and three

from the slave. Figure 5 shows a SAR image of the test scene for the 4 channels HH, HV,VH and

VV provided by the simulator. Note that for calibrated data HV = VH as required by the reciprocity

theorem for backscatter and so only one of the crosspolar channels need be used in the analysis.

However providing separate HV and VH data channels can be useful in practice. In the modelling

context it can be used to check the co-ordinate system used in the simulator. For forward scattering

alignment (FSA) HV and VH will be equal in magnitude but 180 degrees out of phase whereas for

the backscatter alignment (BSA) HV = VH in both amplitude and phase. For real SAR data, the

HV/VH coherence can also be used as a check of signal to noise ratio in the crosspolar channel. If

the HV/VH coherence is high then the SNR is high and vice versa.

In figure 5 we can clearly see the increased backscatter from the hedge layer and note the shadow

region at the rear of the hedge due to its 10m elevation. We note too a bright band at the front of the

hedge in HH and VV. This is due to a second order ground volume interaction. The simulator

accounts for three levels of scattering [Williams 1999, 2000], direct scattering from volume and

surface, second order surface-volume interactions and third order surface-volume-surface

interactions. While the third order interactions are generally small it is important to model correctly

the first and second order interactions, which requires careful calculation of the effective reflection

coefficient from the rough surface and also correct modeling of the polarimetric phase for the

second order or dihedral component.

22

θ = 45o

hv=10m

B = 10m

h=3km r1

r2

θ

y

The next step is to generate a complex interferogram s1s*2 using equation 10. For illustration

purposes we generate an interferogram for the HV polarization channel. The raw phase of the

product is then shown in figure 6. Here we see two features of importance. Firstly we see a

background phase variation across the whole scene, which is a function of range only and comprises

one complete fringe or 2π phase variation. The second feature we note is the phase noise associated

23

with the canopy layer. This phase noise is due to volume decorrelation and later we shall use this

decorrelation to extract information about the height of the vegetation using POLInSAR.

It is possible to remove the background phase variations by employing the geometry of figure 4 to

calculate the expected phase variation for a flat surface and then removing this phase by multiplying

the interferogram by the complex conjugate of the so called ‘flat earth’ phase. From the geometry of

figure 4, this phase variation can be calculated as

4π

e

iφ fe

= exp(i (r2 − r1))

λ

r1 = h 2 + y 2 - 38)

r2 = h 2 + (y + B) 2

where y is the ground range co-ordinate, which we vary across the scene. When we form the

−iφ

modified interferogram s1.s*2e fe we obtain the phase image shown in figure 7. Here we see that

the phase of the flat surface is now constant at zero degrees. This becomes our ground phase

reference across the whole scene. We can again see the phase noise due to the vegetation layer but

note in addition that there is a bias or offset to the mean phase of around 1 radian in this region.

This is called vegetation bias and reflects that fact that the mean phase centre in the vegetation lies

above the ground (positive phase). Again, in POLInSAR we make use of the variations of this phase

centre with polarisation to estimate the vegetation height. Before we can estimate height from phase

however we need to calculate the scale factor or vertical wavenumber kz, which relates phase to

height via the relation φ = kz.h

We can calculate the sensitivity of the interferometer to height variations from the geometry of the

baseline as follows. [Bamler 1998]

B

Δθ = tan−1 (tan θ + ) − θ

[1]

h - 39)

4πΔθ

kz =

λ sin θ

We see that this is a function of angle of incidence, for a fixed baseline B, kz is higher in the near

range where θ is small and decreases in the far range when θ increases. However for this small

scene of only 100m range swath from 3km altitude the variation of angle of incidence is small and

hence kz is approximately constant with a value of 0.1282 for a 10m baseline. Hence a vegetation

bias of 1 radian corresponds to a height of 7.8m. With kz calculated we can then turn the phase

image of figure 7 into an equivalent height map. Figure 8 shows a histogram of the height of the

pixels in the canopy zone. Here we see a mean of 5m, half the canopy height, with a significant

spread due to the phase noise caused by volume decorrelation.

24

Figure 5 : SAR Images for the 4 polarisation channels and two baseline positions1 and 2 of the

simulated scene

25

26

We see from this example that the phase of the vegetation bias does not correspond simply to the

height itself, but generally underestimates the true height by an amount that depends on extinction,

structure and the contribution from surface scattering. Further we don’t always know the ground

reference phase (in this case zero due to knowledge of the exact geometry) and so in general to

estimate height in a robust way we need to take the phase relative to some reference point. To do

this and further improve the height estimate we first need to include coherence amplitude as well as

phase in the inversion.

In order to estimate coherence we employ equation 2, which generates a complex ratio, the phase of

which is just the mean phase over the selected pixels and the amplitude of which lies in the range 0

to 1 and relates to the quality of the phase through its local variance. When the summation in the

numerator is zero, we have complete decorrelation and a coherence of zero. In this case there is no

significant phase information in the selected pixel. At the other extreme when the neighbouring

pixels all have the same phase then the coherence is unity and we have a deterministic phase. We

can visualise this coherence information in two ways. Firstly we can make an image of the

coherence amplitude. This is traditionally viewed as a grey scale image with white = 1 and black =

0 and gives a direct visual interpretation of areas of high and low coherence. However such an

image misses completely the important contribution made by phase. To overcome this we employ a

mapping of the complex coherence inside a unit circle in the complex plane, with radius equal to the

coherence amplitude and phase the polar angle of the coherence point. This circle diagram is shown

in figure 9. This has the advantage of displaying both phase and coherence amplitude on the same

diagram but is limited to a pixel-by-pixel view rather than an image. Nonetheless it an important

27

tool in POLInSAR as it allows us to view the variation of both phase and coherence with

polarisation and hence check the robustness of inversion algorithms based on the shape of the

coherence region, that is the region formed inside the unit circle by changes over the complete set of

polarisation combinations.

Complex Coherence

To calculate coherence we need to specify a window size for the local averaging process around the

pixel under consideration. Coherence is related to phase variance and hence is akin to estimation of

second order statistics of a stochastic variable. The choice of window size is therefore crucial to the

quality of the estimate of coherence obtained. For example, in the extreme case we might choose a

window size of 1x1 and just take the pixel phase itself. In this case all estimated coherences will be

unity, but we do not obtain a good estimate of the true value of coherence and have an extreme case

of bias in the estimate. As the window size increases we will therefore still obtain a slight

overestimation (see figure 1) until for some window size, which depends on the underlying

coherence value itself, we obtain convergence to an unbiased estimate with variance limited by the

Cramer Rao bounds in equation 9. To illustrate this process, figure 10 shows histograms of the

estimated coherence in the canopy region for various window sizes. The window used is square of

integer dimension N, where we have used N = 3,7,11, and 15.

Note that the N = 3 window is too small. We see a residual bias in the peak of the histogram

and a very wide distribution of coherence points. N = 7 shows some improvement but still a bias

offset. N= 11 starts to show some convergence. This we can see because for N = 15 we see little

change in the peak of the histogram which occurs around 0.7, although of course there is some

narrowing of the width of the distribution for the larger window. For this reason we select N = 11

for further investigations. Figure 11 shows a coherence image of the whole scene for this window

28

size. Note that the coherence over the surface regions is unity while the coherence over the canopy

area reduces due to volume decorrelation. In the phase image we see a smoothed estimate of the

vegetation bias already noted in figure 7.

Having now established estimates of both phase and coherence we use the data to illustrate the

accuracy of three important POLInSAR inversion algorithms. In the first case we take a simple

DEM difference between polarisations to try and estimate canopy height. In the second we employ

just the coherence amplitude and finally we combine the phase and coherence amplitude together in

the algorithm described in equation 37.

In this approach we need to choose 2 polarisation channels, one with a phase centre close to the

ground, obtained for polarisation ws, and the other with a phase centre close to the canopy top for

polarisation wv. Differencing the interferograms and normalising by kz then provides a direct

estimate of relative height. There are many ways to choose these two polarisation but here we give

a typical example of the logic involved. The cross-polarised or HV channel can often be expected to

have a high phase centre, as the ratio of surface to volume scattering is generally small in this case.

Hence the ‘upper’ interferogram can be formed from HV polarisation. To select a lower channel we

use the fact that dihedral or double bounce scattering has a phase centre lying on the surface and so

as long as the double bounce is stronger than the volume in the selected channel then the phase

centre will lie close to the ground. The HH-VV channel is closely matched to such a dihedral

component and hence we can choose the second interferogram in this polarisation combination.

Figure 12 shows the resulting height estimate.

29

(amplitude (upper) and phase (lower))

30

31

1. The height is severely underestimated using this algorithm. The phase centres are only

separated by a few metres inside the canopy. Physically this is due to the presence of a

strong volume scattering component in all polarisation channels and also because the HV

phase centre lies not at the top but approximately half way up the volume (see figure 8).

2. The second key point is that sometimes the height estimate is negative. This arises because

the HV phase centre lies below the HH-VV and our assumption of the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’

phase centres is reversed. This will also have implications for the estimation of ground

topography in the full ‘rvog’ inversion scheme (see figure 15).

As an alternative to the DEM differencing approach we can use the coherence amplitude in a

channel we believe to have only volume scattering present (μ = 0). Again we can adopt the HV

channel as a good approximation to this. We then use the relation between height and coherence for

a known extinction in the layer. If we assume zero extinction then we obtain the ‘sinc’ relation

shown in figure 13. When we apply this relation to the HV coherence we obtain the height estimates

shown in figure 14.

Here we see a much better estimate, closer to the true height of 10m. However several points are

overestimated and also such an approach is sensitive to density (extinction) and structure (crown

depth) variations in the vegetation. For this reason we turn finally to consider the combination of

phase and coherence in equation 37 for robust height estimation.

32

The first stage in better using phase information is to try and locate the true ground position. This

we can do using just two interferograms in two polarisations, similar to the DEM differencing

approach. However this time we employ both the phase and coherence of the two interferograms to

compensate the volume offset in the ground channel using equation 30. If we choose HV as the

‘volume’ dominated channel and HH-VV the ‘surface’ dominated channel we obtain the ground

phase estimate shown in figure15 (again using an 11 x 11 window)

We note that the true ground phase in this example is zero and can see that most of the vegetation

bias has in fact been removed. However, the phase estimate is noisy, due to inversions of the HV

and HH-VV phase centres and also to density variations in the canopy. In general therefore ground

phase estimation requires a more sophisticated approach than just the simple dual polarisation line

fit. In a more sophisticated approach we can use multiple polarisation channels to fit the line

parameters in an overdetermined system of equations. In our case however we adopt a simpler

solution, namely to filter the phase jumps in figure 15 by using a median filter (note that a

conventional smoothing or mean filter would be inappropriate for such phase filtering and the

median approach provide a better way to suppress phase jumps of the type observed in figure 15).

Figure 16 shows the result of applying a strong 21 x 21 median filter. Here we see some residual

phase errors but note that the phase jumps in figure 15 have been removed. Having obtained a better

estimate of the true ground position, we can now employ equation 37 to combine phase and

coherence information in a way that is robust to structure and density fluctuations.

33

Using figure 16 as an estimate of the ground phase φο in equation 37, we can then estimate the two

components required for height. Firstly we obtain the height of the HV phase centre, now from the

estimated ground position, as shown in figure 17. This again confirms a height around half way up

the canopy at 5m. The difference between this result and figure 8 is that we are now compensating

for arbitrary ground topography variations and hence are providing a more robust algorithm

approach. As outlined in the discussion around equation 37, we must now compensate this

underestimation of height by adding a fraction of the coherence based height estimate (ε = 0.4).

When combined, we obtain the final height image shown in figure 18. Here we see a good estimate

of the true 10m height of the canopy. This is confirmed by plotting histograms of the height

estimates over the canopy region for the various algorithms as shown in figure 19. Here we confirm

that the DEM difference is the poorest method, the coherence amplitude and phase/coherence

methods provide similar mean values but the latter has smaller dispersion and, as mentioned earlier,

is more robust to vertical structural variations. In figure 20 we show sample azimuth transects

through the scene. Here again we see the comparative performance of the various algorithms. Note

that the difference between the coherence only and coherence/phase methods may in fact be used to

estimate crown occupancy of the volume. In this case the two estimates are similar and so the

estimated crown occupancy is 100%, which is correct in this simulation where the canopy

components were distributed from ground to top.

34

35

Figure 19: Histograms of Height Estimation over Canopy Region for 3 POLInSAR Algorithms

Figure 20: Azmuth Transects through the height profiles for R = 55m (true height = 10m)

36

In the previous analysis we have employed just two polarisation channels, HV selected as a volume

dominated channel and HH-VV as a surface dominated component. In practice there may be other

options available. For example it is common to operate imaging radars in a dual polarisation mode

where the transmitter emits a single polarisation but the receiver has 2 orthogonal channels so

enabling a co and cross-polar measurement. The JAXA ALOS-PALSAR for example is able to

transmit H and receive H and V so obtaining only 2 polarisation combinations HH and HV. It is

interesting to see the change in height retrieval performance with this restricted combination. The

test data set can be used to investigate this. HV is still used as the volume dominated channel but

now we use only HH in place of HH-VV for the surface channel. Figures 21 to 23 show the results

obtained.

37

We see some degradation of performance, related primarily to the smaller phase centre separation

between the channels. This is particularly noticeable in the ground phase estimation, which is now

much noisier. Nonetheless with the same median filtering the height histograms (figure 23) show

acceptable performance for mean height estimation.

This was for restricted polarisation switching. At the other extreme, we face the option for

Quadpol systems of being able to locally adapt the polarisation vectors w to optimise the phase

centre separation and hence improve the height estimation further. There are several algorithms

being developed to do this and details can be found in the literature [Cloude 1997, Papathanassiou

1999, 2001, Stebler 2002, Gomez Dans 2005] Here we simply illustrate the potential for such

adaptive techniques by looking at coherence loci diagrams.

In order to investigate the potential for using polarisations other than those listed in table I, we need

to calculate the boundary of the coherence region inside the unit circle for all polarisation vectors w.

In general we can allow different w vectors at either end of the baseline (equation 16) but to

simplify the analysis we follow the suggestion in equations 19 and 20 to use the same polarisation

at either end of the baseline. The boundary of the region can then be found using equation 20 [Flynn

2002, Tabb 2001, 2002, Colin 2003]. For each value of phase (equivalent to rotating the unit circle),

we obtain the maximum and minimum eigenvalues of the matrix product shown below in equation

40. Having found the eigenvectors corresponding to these eigenvalues we can then use these as w

vectors to estimate coherence and plot their complex coherences inside the unit circles. By

repeating this calculation for all φ values we obtain a shape, the boundary of the coherence region.

We can then see where our ‘standard’ polarisations lie within this boundary to assess the potential

for using adaptive techniques to improve the inversion.

38

⎧ 1

⎪[Ω H ] = 2 (Ω12e + Ω12 e )

iφ 1 *T −iφ1

[T]−1[Ω H ]w = λ w ⎨ - 40)

1

⎪ [T] = (T11 + T22 )

⎩ 2

We use the test data set to illustrate this scheme. Since the coherence regions are plotted inside the

unit circle of figure 9 it is a pixel based analysis and so we must select a pixel for analysis. Figure

24 shows a typical example for a pixel location in the canopy region.

Figure 24 : Coherence region for Pixel in Canopy region (green = HV, red = HH)

Here we show the region boundary in black, calculated using equation 40. In green we show the HV

coherence and in blue the HH coherence as used in the height analysis. In blue we show a line

between the HV coherence and median filtered topographic phase point. We see that this lies close

to the true phase point at zero. We see that in this case optimisation may indeed help the retrieval

accuracy. It would be better to use w vectors that correspond to the ends of the major axis of the

elliptical coherence region. This would maximise the separation of the phase centres and provide a

better ground phase estimate. However as the region shape changes from pixel to pixel, this requires

an adaptive process that adds considerably to the processing overhead.

39

10 CONCLUSIONS

In this tutorial we have introduced ina systematic way most of the major concepts required for an

understanding of the application of POLInSAR to vegetation parameter estimation. We began by

considering the role of coherence in interferometry and polarimetry before exploring in some detail

models explaining the variation of coherence with polarisation for surface, volume and the

important case of mixed surface and volume scattering. It is in this last case that POLInSAR plays

an important role.

We then summarised the main approaches to estimation of vegetation height and ground

topography using POLInSAR and developed a fast robust algorithm, based on the random volume

over ground or ‘rvog’ 2-layer coherence model (equation 37). To illustrate these concepts and

demonstrate a typical 12 step processing chain we then employed simulated L-band POLInSAR

data for a mixed surface and volume scattering scene. We used this to look at issues of coherence

and phase estimation before employing the data for a test of various height and ground phase

inversion techniques. We concentrated mainly on using dual polarised data but completed the

tutorial by looking at the idea of a coherence region and how the polarisation diversity offered by

Quadpol systems can be used to further improve performance via the use of adaptive processing

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Papathanassiou K P, A. Reigber, S.R. Cloude “Vegetation and Ground Parameter Estimation using

Polarimetric Interferometry Part 2 : Parameter Inversion and Optimal Polarisations”, Proceedings

of ESA CEOS SAR Workshop, Toulouse, France, October 1999.

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2000, Munich, Germany, May 2000, pp 123-126

Transactions Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol 39/11, pp 2352-2363, November 2001

Parameters from POlInSAR Data””, Proceedings of IEEE International Geoscience and Remote

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Papathanassiou K P, S.R. Cloude , A Liseno, T. Mette , and H. Pretzsch, “Forest Height Estimation

by means of Polarimetric SAR Interferometry: Actual Status and Perspectives”, Proceedings of 2nd

ESA POLInSAR Workshop, Frascati, Italy, January 2005,

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Applications of SAR Polarimetry and Polarimetric Interferometry, POLInSAR 05, January 2005,

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Proceedings of IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2005), Seoul, South

Korea, 25-29 July 2005

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Preiss M, N J Stacy, “Scene Coherence at X-Band from Repeat Pass Polarimetric Interferometry”,

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2000, Munich, Germany, May 2000, pp 137-140

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pp 1271-1278, June 2001

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Seymour S., Cumming I.G., “Maximum Likelihood Estimation for SAR Interferometry”,

Proceedings of IEEE-IGARSS’94, Pasadena, USA

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experimental spaceborne and airborne results”. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote

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Tabb M, R Carande, “Robust Inversion of Vegetation Structure Parameters from Low Frequency

Polarimetric Interferometric SAR”Proceedings of IEEE International Geoscience and Remote

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Tabb M., Flynn T., Carande R., ”Direct Estimation of Vegetation Parameters from Covariance Data

in POLINSAR”, Proceedings of IGARSS 2002, Toronto, Canada, pp III 1908-1910

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3. SINGLE VS MULTI-POLARIZATION

DESCRIPTORS

The main problem for the quantitative estimation of soil moisture and/or surface roughness

from SAR data lies in the separation of their individual effects on the backscattered signal.

Polarimetry plays here an important role as it allows either a direct separation or a

parameterisation of roughness and moisture effects within the scattering problem. The

scattering problem of electromagnetic waves from randomly rough surfaces has been an

actual research topic over decades and is still not satisfactorily solved due to the lack of an

exact closed-form solution. However, for many practical application, approximate solutions

are sufficient. In the absence of any direct relationship between surface parameters and

backscattering signal models empirical relations have been developed. In the field of radar

remote sensing the most common approximation methods are based on the evaluation of

backscattering amplitudes considering single or dual-channel SAR data. The choice of an

appropriate scattering model is essential for the quantitative estimation of the surface

parameters. On the one hand it must contain enough physical structure while on the other

hand it should have a right balance between the amount of parameters needed for their

description and available observables. As natural surfaces are complex stochastic objects a

priori information and assumptions can be used to simplify the inversion problem. Hence, for

some of the scattering model in order to obtain an accurate estimate of soil moisture,

information about the surface roughness was required or roughness has been considered as a

disturbing effect and several conditions have been developed in order to minimise its

influence (Hajnsek, 2001).

However, an independent estimate of roughness conditions is not possible by using only a

single polarisation and single- frequency SAR system. Increasing the amount of obervables by

using a fully polarimetric data set, the amount of surface parameters and its estimation

quantity increases. However, the main limitation of using models based on polarimetric

backscattering amplitudes is their insufficiency to deal - at leas in a practical way - with

diffuse or secondary scattering processes, depolarisation effects caused by the surface

roughness, and the presence of multiplicative and / or additive noise components.

A large class of natural surface scatterers, is characterised by secondary and/or multiple

scattering effects. With increasing surface roughness, relative to the wavelength, the effect of

multiple scattering becomes stronger, generating an adequate |HV| scattering component.

Dihedral scattering due to small correlation lengths characterised by |HH| > |VV|, and/or

diffuse scattering (|HV| contribution) affects the backscattered signal. Also, effects induced by

the presence of vegetation cover can not be accounted with surface scattering models. Both

effects lead to a violation of the required conditions of most models and/or to biased

estimation of the roughness and moisture parameters.

3.1.1 Polarimetric Coherence

The first way followed in order to extend the observation space was by incorporating

polarimetric phase information in form of (second-order) correlation (coherence) coefficients

between different polarisations. Indeed, correlation coefficients at different polarisations have

been reported to be sensitive to surface parameters. The HH-VV correlation coefficient

∗

|< S HH SVV >|

γ HHVV := ∗ ∗ (1)

< S HH S HH > < SVV SVV >

has been evaluated with respect to its sensitivity to dielectric constant and/or rms height

condition of rough surfaces in (Borgeaud, 1994). An increased correlation to soil moisture

conditions within a certain roughness range has been reported. In contrary, (HH+VV)-(HH-

VV) correlation coefficient

(

|< S HH + S VV ) (S HH − S VV )

∗

>|

γ ( HH +VV )( HH −VV ) := (2)

2 2

< S HH + S VV > < S HH − S VV >

has been found to correlate with surface roughness, independent on the surface moisture

content and the local incidence angle (Hajnsek, 2001).

Further investigations in (Mattia, 1997) demonstrated that the circular polarisation correlation

coefficient

∗

|< S LL S RR >|

γ LLRR := ∗ ∗ (3)

< S LL S LL > < S RR S RR >

is widely independent on the dielectric properties of rough surfaces and depends only on the

surface roughness. Its independence from the azimuth topographic tilt has been reported in

(Schuler 2002). Thus, γLLRR can be used for robust quantitative surface roughness estimates.

More recently the polarimetric scattering anisotropy obtained from the eigen-values of the

polarimetric coherence matrix has been evaluated to be a sensitive estimate for the surface

roughness (Cloude 1999). This is in accordance with the observations about the circular

polarisation correlation coefficient as the anisotropy A can be interpreted as a generalised

rotation invariant expression of γLLRR

in case where the coherency matrix is diagonal.

λ2 − λ3

A := λ , λ3 Eigenvalues of [T] (4)

λ2 + λ3 2

Both parameters, γLLRR and A, are by definition normalised between 0 and 1 and have – in first

order - a direct linear relationship to the surface roughness

1 − γLLRR = ks = 1 − A for 0 ≤ ks ≤ 1 (5)

The price to be payed for using the rotation invariant anisotropy is its very ‘noisy’ nature

especially at the low range of its range i.e. for smooth surfaces (Hajnsek 2002). In this case

the amplitudes of the secondary scattering mechanisms, expressed by the second and third

eigenvalues are very small, down to -25 [dB] or even less. As this is close to the system noise

floor, A is strongly affected by additive noise effects. However, by additive filtering the

influence can be reduced.

Concerning the valuable surface roughness range, radar sensors operating at lower

frequencies (L-band) allow the coverage of a sufficiently wide range of natural surfaces, as it

can be seen in Tab 1.

ks ks

Band ID Wavelength [cm] for rms height 0.5

[cm] for rms height 4 [cm]

X 3 1.04 8.37

C 5 0.52 4.19

S 10 0.31 2.51

L 23 0.14 1

P 68 0.05 0.37

Tab.1: The surface roughness range for natural surface calculated for different wavelength

Based on these experimental observations a polarimetric scattering model using as a starting

point the SPM (Bragg-Model) an extended Bragg model (X-Bragg), has been developed,

which allows quantitative estimation of roughness and dielectric constant over a wide range of

natural bare surfaces. X-Bragg assumes reflection symmetric surfaces, where the axis of

symmetry is defined by the mean normal to the surface vector. It accounts for cross-polarised

as well as depolarisation effects. The application of the model to experimental data

demonstrate a high inversion accuracy shows a good agreement between inverted values and

ground measurements (Hajnsek, 2001).

However, the main limitation for surface parameters estimation from polarimetric SAR data is

the presence of vegetation. This combined with the fact that most natural surfaces are

temporarily or permanently covered by vegetation restricts significantly the importance of

radar remote sensing for a wide spectrum of geophysical and environmental applications.

However, the evolution of radar technology and techniques allows optimism concerning the

vitiation of this limitation.

Based on these experimental observations, a new model for the investigation of surface

parameters from polarimetric SAR data is introduced in this paper. The proposed model is a

two component model including a Bragg scattering term and a roughness induced rotation

symmetric disturbance. In order to decouple the real part of the dielectric constant ε’ from

surface roughness s, the model is addressed in terms of the polarimetric scattering entropy

(H), scattering anisotropy (A) and alpha angle (α) which are derived from the eigenvalues and

eigenvectors of the polarimetric coherency matrix (Cloude et al. 1999). This allows the

implementation of a simple inversion algorithm for both surface roughness and soil moisture.

matrix which contains the second order moments of the scattering r

process is introduced. Its

formation is based on the introduction of a scattering vector k P as the vectorisation of the

scattering matrix [S] using the Pauli spin matrices basis set (Cloude et al. 1996, Cloude et al.

2001).

S S HV v 1

[S HH + SVV 2 S HV ]

T

[ S ] = HH → k P := S HH − SVV (6)

SVH SVV 2

r

The coherency matrix [T] is formed by averaging the outer product of k P as

S HH + SVV

2

( S HH + SVV )(S HH − SVV )* 2 ( S HH + SVV )S *HV

v v 1

= ( S HH − SVV )(S HH + SVV )* 2 (S HH − SVV )S ∗ HV

2

[ T ] := k P ⋅ k P+ S HH − SVV (7)

2

2 S HV (S HH + SVV )∗ 2 S HV (S HH − SVV ) ∗ 2

4 S HV

The diagonal elements of [T] are given by the real backscattered power values while

r

the off-

diagonal elements contain the complex cross correlations between the elements of k P . [T] is

by definition hermitian positive semi-definite, which implies that it has real non-negative

eigenvalues and orthogonal eigenvectors, and can always be diagonalised by an unitary

similarity transformation of the form (Cloude et al. 1997)

λ1 0 0

[T ] = [U 3 ][Λ ][U 3 ] where [Λ ] = 0 0 , [U 3 ] = [e1 , e2 , e3 ]

−1 v v v T

λ2 (8)

0 0 λ3

[T], and [U3] is the unitary eigenvector matrix with columns corresponding to the orthonormal

eigenvectors ev1 , ev2 and ev3 . The diagonalisation of the coherency matrix [T] may be

interpreted as its decomposition into a non-coherent sum of three independent scattering

contributions

(v v

) (

v v

) v v

(

[T ] = [U 3 ][Λ][U 3 ]−1 = λ1 e1 ⋅ e1+ + λ2 e2 ⋅ e2+ + λ3 e3 ⋅ e3+ ) (9)

The contribution of each scattering mechanism in terms of power is given by the appropriate

eigenvalue. The information about which ‘kind’ of scattering mechanism is obtained is

contained in the corresponding eigenvectors.

There are three important physical features arising directly from the diagonalisation of the

coherency matrix. The first two are obtained from the eigenvalues of [T] which - normalised

by the absolute scattering magnitudes - can be interpreted as scattering probabilities pi

(Cloude et al. 2001)

λi λi

pi := = → p1 + p2 + p3 = 1 (10)

∑ λ1 + λ2 + λ3

3

j =1

λj

Using the probabilities pi two ratios for the description of an arbitrary rough surface can be

defined: the polarimetric scattering entropy H and the scattering anisotropy A, which are

defined as

3

H = −∑ pi log 3 pi (11)

i=1

p2 − p3

A = (12)

p2 + p3

Both parameters vary between 0 and 1. The entropy can be interpreted as a measure of the

randomness of the scattering process. The anisotropy defines the relation between the second

and the third eigenvalues, and is a measure for the difference of the secondary scattering

mechanisms. For smooth surfaces, H becomes zero implying a non-depolarising scattering

process described by a single scattering matrix and increases with surface roughness.

Depolarising surfaces are characterised by non-zero entropy values. A can be zero even for

rough surfaces. For surfaces characterised by intermediate entropy values, a high anisotropy

indicates the presence of only one strong secondary scattering process, while a low anisotropy

indicates the appearance of two equally strong scattering processes. For azimuthaly

symmetric surfaces λ2=λ3 by definition and A becomes 0 (Cloude et al. 1996, Cloude et al.

2001). In this sense, the anisotropy provides complementary information to the entropy and

facilitates the interpretation of the surface scatterer. The great advantage of these two

parameters arises from the invariance of the eigenvalue problem under unitary

transformations: The same surface leads to the same eigenvalues and consequently to the

same entropy and anisotropy values independently on the basis used to measure the

corresponding scattering matrix.

The third important parameter is obtained from the eigenvectors of [T]. Each eigenvector evi

can be expressed in terms of five angles as (Cloude et al. 1997)

v

ei = [cos α i exp (i φ 1 i ) sin α i cos β i exp (i φ 2 i ) sin α i sin β i exp (i φ 3 i )]

T

(13)

The β i angles can be interpreted as a rotation of the corresponding eigenvector evi in the

plane perpendicular to the scattering plane, while φ 1 i , φ 2 i and φ 3 i are accounting for the phase

relations between the elements of evi . More important in the context of this work is the mean

scattering angle α defined as

α = p 1α 1 + p 2α 2 + p 3α 3 (14)

The alpha angle α indicates the “type” of the mean scattering process occurring (Cloude et al.

1999). Its interpretation in terms of the surface scattering problem will be given in the

following sections.

r

Returning now to the SPM, the corresponding scattering vector k P is given by

S HH + SVV Rs + RP cos α exp(iφ 1 )

→ 1

kP = S − S = m R − R = m sin α exp(iφ )

(15)

2

HH VV s S P 2

2 S HV 0 0

where m denotes the absolute scattering amplitude. The coherency matrix of a Bragg scatterer

follows as

RS + RP

2

(R

S + R p )(RS − RP )

*

0

r r+

[T ] = k P kP = ms (RS − RP )(RS + RP )

2

*

RS − RP

2

0

(16)

0 0 0

Two of the three off-diagonal elements disappear as a consequence of zero cross-polarisation,

while the third one depends only on the surface dielectric constant and the radar incidence

angle. The corresponding normalised correlation coefficient is one

| ( S HH + SVV )( S HH − SVV )* | | ( RS + R p )( RS − RP )* |

γ ( HH +VV )( HH −VV ) := = =1 (17)

| S HH + SVV |2 | S HH − SVV |2 | RS + RP |2 | RS − RP |2

Regarding now the interpretation of the alpha angle, from (15) follows that α − similar to the

co-polarised ratio Rs / Rp − is independent of roughness, and therefore, can be used for the

estimation of the dielectric constant if the local incidence angle is known

RS + RP

α = arccos (18)

RS + RP

2

+ RS − RP

2

As shown in Figure 1, for a dry surface the alpha angle α is small and increases with

increasing soil moisture. The highest sensitivity occurs between 0 and 20 mv [vol. %] and

saturates with further increasing of mv.

60 degrees

25 degrees

Figure 1 The relation of the alpha angle to the volumetric soil moisture

Summarising, the main limitations of the SPM are its small surface roughness validity range –

below 0.3 ks and the saturation of its sensitivity to soil moisture content above mv 20 [vol. %].

Its inability to describe depolarisation effects restricts its usefulness regarding the

interpretation and inversion of experimental data from natural surfaces. However, the

robustness of SPM inside its validity range and its relevant physical background leaded to

several investigations to use it as a valuable starting point for an extended model.

As mentioned in the previous section, two main effects have to be introduced in order to

extend the Bragg scattering model for a wider range of roughness conditions: non-zero cross-

polarised backscattering and depolarisation. In fact, conventional two- or multiple-scale

extensions introduce cross-polarisation but fail to express depolarisation effects. An

alternative way to introduce roughness disturbance is to model the surface as a reflection

symmetric depolariser by rotating the Bragg coherency matrix [T] about an angle ß in the

plane perpendicular to the scattering plane (Lee et al. 2000) as

1 0 0

RS + RP

2

(R S − R p )(RS + R P )

*

0 1

0 0

[T ( β )] = 0 cos 2β sin 2β (RS + R P )(RS − R P )

*

RS − R P

2

0 0 cos 2 β

− sin 2β (19)

0 − sin 2 β cos 2 β 0 0 0 0 sin 2 β cos 2β

2π

[T ] = ∫ [T ( β )]P( β )dβ (20)

0

The width of the assumed distribution corresponds to the amount of roughness disturbance of

the modelled surface. Assuming P(ß) to be a uniform distribution about zero with width ß1

(see Figure 2)

1

β ≤ β1

P (β ) = 2 β 1 (21)

0 ≤ β1 ≤ π

2

the coherency matrix for the rough surface becomes

T11 T12 T13 C1 C 2 sin c (2 β 1 ) 0

[T ] = T21 T22

T23 = C 2 sin c (2 β 1 ) C 3 (1 + sin c (4 β 1 )) 0

(22)

T31 T32 T33 0 0 C 3 (1 − sin c (4 β 1 ))

(11.50)

Sensor

Scattering Plane

β

Surface

k

P(β)

β

−β1 +β1

Figure 2 Schematic representation of the uniform distribution of the slope

with sinc(x) = sin(x) / x. The coefficients C1, C2 , and C3 describing the Bragg components of

the surface, and are given by

C1 = R S + R P

2

(

C 2 = (R S + R P ) R S* − R P* ) C3 =

1

2

RS − RP

2

(23)

Equation (22) represents the coherency matrix of an extended Bragg surface characterised by

cross-polarised energy and at the same time a polarimetric coherence less than one

T12 sin c(2 β 1 )

γ ( HH +VV )( HH −VV ) := = ≤1 (24)

T11 T22 (1 + sin c(4 β 1 )) / 2.

The width of the distribution ß1 describes the roughness component and controls both, the

level of cross-polarised power and the (HH+VV)(HH-VV) coherence. Fig. (11.14) show the

variation of (HH+VV)(HH-VV) coherence (Fig. (11.14)) and normalised cross-polarised

power according to (22). In the limit of a smooth surface (i.e. ß1 = 0), the (HH+VV)(HH-VV)

coherence is one and the HV backscattered power zero. In this case, the coherency matrix

obtains the form of the “pure” Bragg coherency matrix (see (16)). With increasing roughness

(i.e. increasing ß1), the HV power increases, while the (HH+VV)(HH-VV) coherence decreases

monotonically from 1 to zero. In this high roughness limit, the surface becomes azimuthally

symmetric.

Figure 3 Variation of the coherence and the cross polarised power with increasing β1

Furthermore, it is important to realise that, while the increase of cross polarised power with

roughness depends on the dielectric constant of the surface (and the incidence angle) the

decrease of the (HH+VV)(HH-VV) coherence is independent from both.

On the other hand, according to (22), the ratio

2

T22 + T33 R − RP

= S 2 (25)

T11 RS + RP

is independent on the surface roughness and depends only on the dielectric constant of the

surface and the incidence angle as shown in Figure 4. Thus, the extended Bragg model is

characterised by an inherent separation of roughness and moisture effects obtained in form of

ratios of the elements of the coherency matrix allowing an independent estimation of these

parameters.

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