Fundamentals of Synthetic Aperture Radar Signal Processing

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Requirements & Materials

Fundamentals of Synthetic Aperture Radar Signal Processing

Course Description

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging is a mature technology for remote sensing and tactical and strategic surveillance in both commercial and defense applications because of its ability to combine fine-resolution two- and three-dimensional mapping with all-weather visibility. New radar technology, algorithms, and an ever-expanding community of users and commercial systems continue to improve SAR performance and broaden its range of applications. This course focuses on the digital signal processing algorithms commonly employed for forming SAR imagery, improving image quality, and extracting (retrieving) information about the imaged scene.

Due to minimum enrollment requirements to hold a course, we ask that you register as early as possible. View our terms and conditions for further information. If you have specific questions or requirements, please contact the course administrator. 

Course Content


  • Heuristic introduction to the concept of synthetic aperture imaging from antenna size and Doppler discrimination points of view
  • Sample calculations of basic system parameters, comparison to operational SAR systems
  • Determinants of basic system characteristics such as resolution, area coverage rate, and sensitivity
  • Common SAR waveforms and processing techniques for range resolution
  • Data characteristics and issues such as phase history models and range migration


  • SAR signal models
  • Taxonomy of the most common synthetic aperture imaging algorithms
  • Moderate-resolution techniques such as the Doppler beam sharpening, range-Doppler, and rectangular format algorithms
  • High resolution techniques such as the range migration, backprojection, and polar format algorithms
  • The motion compensation problem and major auto-focus algorithms
  • MATLAB®-based tutorial demonstration and lab illustrates imaging properties


  • SAR signal processor and data link sizing
  • Common SAR signal processing misconceptions
  • Specialized algorithms for turntable inverse SAR, used for target characterization
  • Interpretation of SAR images, including issues such as shadowing, layover, and foreshortening
  • Synthetic aperture sonar


  • 3D interferometric SAR and coherent change detection
  • Integrated single- and multichannel GMTI SAR
  • An introduction to current topics such as sparse algorithms and multiple-input, multiple output (MIMO) methods
Requirements & Materials





  • Hard copy and CD-ROM of course slides

  • Georgia Tech’s “SARCASM” MATLAB® tutorial demonstration software

Session Details

  • Special Discounts: Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) employees are eligible to receive a discount.  If you are a GTRI employee, please go to the Organizational Development website and look for the coupon code under GT Professional Development. Review coupon instructions for more information.

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for engineers, scientists, and technical managers.

Adult professional attending defense tech course

What You Will Learn

  • Radar signal processing fundamentals refresher
  • Historical and high-performance synthetic aperture imaging algorithms
  • Basic SAR principles
  • SAR image post-processing and exploitation methods
  • Combined SAR and ground moving target indication (GMTI)
  • SAR image phenomenology and quality
  • Synthetic aperture sonar
  • Inverse SAR
  • Imaging properties through a MATLAB®-based tutorial demonstration
Radar antenna

How You Will Benefit

  • Learn the basic principles of coherent radar imaging.
  • Develop an intuition for the fundamental properties of synthetic aperture imaging.
  • Understand the relationships and trade-offs between major SAR imaging algorithms.
  • See how SAR processing parameters relate to basic system characteristics such as resolution and area coverage.
  • Interpret SAR image phenomenology.
  • Avoid common SAR misconceptions.
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The course schedule was well-structured with a mix of lectures, class discussions, and hands-on exercises led by knowledgeable and engaging instructors.

- Abe Kani


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