Workshop with Thales - Reduction of Radar Range Sidelobes Using Variants of the CLEAN Algorithm

12 December 2014

Most sensing systems exhibit so-called ‘sidelobe’ responses, which can be interpreted as an inevitable effect in one domain of truncation of the signal in the Fourier-complement domain.  Perhaps the best-known example is in antenna theory where sidelobes are an inevitable consequence of the fact that the antenna aperture must be finite.  The effect also appears in many other places, for example in time-frequency conversions and in the range domain of a pulse-compressed radar which radiates a signal only over a finite frequency band.  In the range domain these sidelobes extend over twice the length of the transmitted pulse.  For a conventional radar with relatively short pulses the effect of these unwanted returns is thus confined to a relatively short part of the range swathe.


Some of the most modern radar techniques, however, use continuous, noise-like transmissions.  ‘Primary’ noise-modulated radars are in their infancy but so-called ‘Passive’ radars using broadcast transmissions as their power source receive similar signals.  The sidelobes of even a small target at very short range can be larger than the main return from a target at much greater range.  This limits the dynamic range of the radar.


Since, however, the sidelobe pattern is predictable if the illuminating signal is known sufficiently accurately, the expected sidelobes due to a large target can be estimated and removed to tidy up the image.  This approach was first described formally in:

Hoegbom, J. A., ‘Aperture Synthesis with a Non-Regular Distribution of Interferometer Baselines,’ Astrom. Astrophys. Suppl. 15, pp417-26, 1974.

And is generally known by the name of the ‘CLEAN’ algorithm.


The seminar will outline the problem, outline the basic form of the algorithm and ask questions about what is possible with non-iterative versions of the algorithms, how to process the data coherently and how to understand any stability issues associated with the algorithm.

  • Industrial and Interdisciplinary Workshops