Co-polarization channel imbalance phase estimation by corner-reflector-like targets

Lei Shi, Pingxiang Li, Jie Yang, Liangpei Zhang, Xiaoli Ding, Lingli Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Polarimetric calibration is a critical step to suppress the potential system distortion before implementing any applications for polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR). Among all the distortion elements, the crosstalk and cross-pol channel imbalance are generally estimated by the use of natural media, and the co-pol channel imbalance is traditionally solved by the use of corner reflectors (CRs). However, the deployment of ground CRs is costly and may even be impossible in some areas. Many bright point targets, such as poles, lamps, and corner points of structures, are commonly found in manmade regions. In particular, if the object orientation is parallel or perpendicular to the radar flight direction, some points will present similar polarimetric responses to trihedral or dihedral CRs. These points, which are referred to here as “CR-like targets”, can be treated as a supplement to approximately solve the system distortion elements when CRs are unavailable. In this paper, we propose a novel step-by-step algorithm to determine the CR-like targets and estimate the co-pol channel imbalance phase in uncalibrated PolSAR imagery. Chinese X-band airborne and C-band satellite PolSAR data were used to test the proposed method. Compared with the CR-derived co-pol channel imbalance phase, the solution errors of the CR-like targets were 1.305° and 0.03° for the X- and C-band experiments, respectively. The results of the experiments confirm that the solutions of the CR-like targets are very close to those of ground-deployed CRs, and the proposed method can be considered as an effective way to calibrate PolSAR images when sufficient CR-like point targets are detected in manmade regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Calibration
  • Corner reflector
  • Polarimetric synthetic aperture radar
  • Target detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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