Near field radar imaging systems are used for demanding security applications including concealed weapon detection in airports and other high-security venues. Despite the near-field operation, phase noise and thermal noise can limit performance in several ways. Practical imaging systems can employ arrays with low gain antennas and relatively large signal distribution networks that have substantial losses which limit transmit power and increase the effective noise figure of the receiver chain, resulting in substantial thermal noise. Phase noise can also limit system performance. The signal coupled from transmitter to receiver is much larger than expected target signals. Phase noise from this coupled signal can set the system noise floor if the oscillator is too noisy. Frequency modulated continuous wave (FM-CW) radar transceivers used in short range systems are relatively immune to the effects of the coupled phase noise due to range correlation effects. This effect can reduce the phase-noise floor such that it is below the thermal noise floor for moderate performance oscillators. Phase noise is also manifested in the range response around bright targets, and can cause smaller targets to be obscured. Noise in synthetic aperture imaging systems is mitigated by the processing gain of the system. In this paper, the effects of thermal noise, phase noise, and processing gain are analyzed in the context of a near field 3-D FM-CW imaging radar as might be used for concealed weapon detection. In addition to traditional frequency domain analysis, a time-domain simulation is employed to graphically demonstrate the effect of these noise sources on a fast-chirping FM-CW system.
David M. Sheen, David M. Sheen,
"Noise analysis for near-field 3D FM-CW radar imaging systems", Proc. SPIE 9462, Passive and Active Millimeter-Wave Imaging XVIII, 946206 (19 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2180032; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2180032