Synthetic aperture sonar

Synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) is a form of sonar in which sophisticated post-processing of sonar data are used in ways closely analogous to synthetic aperture radar. Synthetic aperture sonars combine a number of acoustic pings to form an image with much higher along-track resolution than conventional sonars. The along-track resolution can approach half the length of one sonar element, though is downward limited by 1/4 wavelength. The principle of synthetic aperture sonar is to move the sonar while illuminating the same spot on the sea floor with several pings. When moving along a straight line, those pings that have the image position within the beamwidth constitutes the synthetic array. By coherent reorganization of the data from all the pings, a synthetic aperture image is produced with improved along-track resolution. In contrast to conventional side-scan sonar, SAS processing provides range-independent along-track resolution. At maximum range the resolution can be magnitudes better than that of side-scan sonars.

A 2013 technology review [1] with examples and future trends is also available. For academics, the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering article: Synthetic Aperture Sonar, A Review of Current Status[2] gives an overview of the history and an extensive list of references for the community achievements up to 2009.

See also


  1. R. E. Hansen, Synthetic Aperture Sonar Technology Review, Marine Technology Society Journal, Volume 47, Number 5, September/October 2013, pp. 117-127
  2. M. P. Hayes and P. T. Gough, Synthetic Aperture Sonar: A Review of Current Status, IEEE J. Ocean. Eng., vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 207-224, July 2009. Access abstract.

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