A microwave synthetic aperture radar (SAR) exploits coherent target-return processing to achieve an along-track spatial resolution better than its antenna's diffraction limit. It also uses its range resolution capability to enhance its across-track spatial resolution. This paper considers the application of SAR techniques to the optical wavelength-coherent laser radar-regime. It presents performance analysis for optical SARs, focusing on their along-track and across-track spatial resolutions, their carrier-to-noise ratios (CNRs), and their signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) in a variety of situations. Results are first obtained for performance under ideal operating conditions. Then the effects of laser frequency instability, atmospheric turbulence, and radar-aim errors are factored into the theory. The analysis is illustrated by system performance calculations for optical SARs based on reasonable technology parameters.
Jeffrey H. Shapiro,
"Performance Analysis Of Optical Synthetic Aperture Radars", Proc. SPIE 0999, Laser Radar III, (18 February 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.960229; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.960229