Co-Prime Frequency and Aperture Design for HF Surveillance, Wideband Radar Imaging, and Nonstationary Array Processing

Developing novel co-prime sampling and array design strategies to achieve high-resolution estimation of spectral power distributions and signal direction-of-arrivals (DOAs).

A co-prime array uses two uniform linear subarrays to construct an effective difference coarray with certain desirable characteristics, such as a high number of degrees-of-freedom for DOA estimation. In this research, the co-prime array concept has been generalized with two operations.

The prototype coprime array configuration

The first operation is through the compression of the inter-element spacing of one subarray and the resulting structure treats the existing variations of co-prime array configurations as well as the nested array structure as its special cases.

The second operation exploits two displaced subarrays, and the resulting co-prime array structure allows the minimum inter-element spacing to be much larger than the typical half-wavelength requirement, making them useful in applications where a small interelement spacing is infeasible.

The co-prime array, which utilizes a co-prime pair of uniform linear sub-arrays, provides a systematical means for sparse array construction. On the other hand, utilizing spectrum bandwidth in co-prime array can achieve a number of advantages:

  1. Utilizing multiple frequencies equivalently provides multiple virtual arrays to achieve a higher number of degrees of freedom;

  2. Fusing multi-frequency signals improves the robustness of DOA estimation; and

  3. The use of signal bandwidth and co-prime array provides DOA-range resolution for target localization.

In one proposed scheme, a co-prime array is operated at multiple frequencies in order to fill the missing coarray elements, thereby enabling the co-prime array to form consecutive coarray lags and effectively utilize all of the offered degrees of freedom (DOFs) with subspace based DOA estimation methods. In another proposed scheme, a single sparse uniform linear array is used to exploit two or more continuous-wave signals whose frequencies satisfy a co-prime relationship. This extends the co-prime array and filtering to a joint spatio-spectral domain, thereby achieving high flexibility in array structure design to meet system complexity constraints.

The DOA estimation is obtained using group sparsity-based compressive sensing techniques. The achievable number of DOFs is derived for the two-frequency case, and an upper bound of the available DOFs is provided for multi-frequency scenarios. The third scheme considered the frequency diverse array (FDA) radar which offers a range-dependent beam-pattern capability. The spatial and range resolutions of an FDA radar are fundamentally limited by the array geometry and the frequency offset. This limitation was overcome by introducing a novel sparsity-based multi-target localization approach incorporating both coprime arrays and coprime frequency offsets. The covariance matrix of the received signals corresponding to all sensors and employed frequencies is formulated to generate a space-frequency virtual difference coarrays. The joint DOA and range estimation is cast as a two-dimensional sparse reconstruction problem and is solved within the Bayesian compressive sensing framework.

DOA estimation of a mixture of coherent and uncorrelated targets was performed using sparse reconstruction and active nonuniform arrays. The data measurements from multiple transmit and receive elements can be considered as observations from the sum coarray corresponding to the physical transmit/receive arrays. The vectorized co-variance matrix of the sum coarray observations emulates the received data at a virtual array whose elements are given by the difference coarray of the sum coarray. Sparse reconstruction is used to fully exploit the significantly enhanced degrees of-freedom offered by the difference coarray of the sum coarray for DOA estimation.

The DOA estimation accuracy was then compared and contrasted in the presence of mutual coupling for three different non-uniform array geometries, namely, minimum redundancy arrays, nested arrays, and co-prime arrays, and for two antenna types, namely dipole antennas and microstrip antennas. It was demonstrated through numerical simulations that the mutual coupling, if unaccounted for, can lead to performance degradation, with the minimum redundancy array faring better against mutual coupling than the other two non-uniform structures for both antenna types.

This work was done by Moeness G. Amin, Fauzia Ahmad, and Yimin D. Zhang of Villanova University College of Engineering for the Office of Naval Research. NRL-0073

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Co-Prime Frequency and Aperture Design for HF Surveillance, Wideband Radar Imaging, and Nonstationary Array Processing

(reference NRL-0073) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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