Dynamic Metamaterial Aperture for Radio and Millimeter Wave Satellite Imagery

(2015 - 2016)

ERSM geometry satellite ERSM simulation
(a) Enhanced resolution stripmat mode (ERSM) geometry. (b) Simulations of a satellite-borne synthetic aperture scene of the National Mall in Washington D.C. Left shows a standard stripmap mode SAR (SM) image, in the center is the ERSM image, and the right shows a standard spotlight mode SAR (SL) image. Note the improved ERSM image resolution compared to SM and the increased scene compared to SL. The original SAR image is by courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories, Airborne ISR.


This program proposed to exploit emerging advances in the fields of metamaterials and computational imaging to yield enhanced dynamic apertures for millimeter-wave, space-based imaging. Active illumination with instantaneous image acquisition as a primary new capability were concidered, in addition to traditional image reconstruction via synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Prior work in metamaterials technology combined with computational imaging approaches has demonstrated low-cost, large-scale radio frequency apertures capable of real-time image acquisition for security screening applications. In this program the design tradeoffs associated with applying the dynamic aperture technology to space-based platforms were investigated. Also a laboratory demonstration aperture to illustrate the potential for a satellite-based imaging system was built, issues such as signal-to-noise ratio and motion blur were examined, proof of concept SAR experiments using a commercial prototype metamaterial antenna were done, new metamaterial enabled SAR operation modes investigated, as well as the operation of the various potential dynamic tuning mechanisms in the space environment.
Funding: U.S. Government
Project Partners: Duke University (coordinator), University of Washington.

Related Publlications

  • A. Pedross-Engel, D. Arnitz, and M. S. Reynolds, "Self-Jamming Mitigation via Coding for Millimeter Wave Imaging with Direct Conversion Receivers," IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 410 - 412, April 2017.
  • M. Boyarsky, T. Sleasman, L. M. Pulido-Mancera, T. Fromenteze, A. Pedross-Engel, C. M. Watts, M. Imani, M. S. Reynolds, and D. R. Smith, "Synthetic Aperture Radar with Dynamic Metasurfaces: A Conceptual Development," Journal of the Optical Society of America A, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. A22 - A36, March 2017.
  • C. M. Watts, A. Pedross-Engel, D. R. Smith, and M. S. Reynolds, "X-Band SAR Imaging with a Liquid-Crystal Based Dynamic Metasurface Antenna," Journal of the Optical Society of America B, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 300 - 306, Feb. 2017.