Synthetic-aperture sonar

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A SAS image of the wreck of the West Ridge

Synthetic-aperture sonar (SAS) is a form of sonar in which sophisticated post-processing of sonar data is 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 constitute 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.

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  1. ^ R. E. Hansen, Synthetic Aperture Sonar Technology Review, Marine Technology Society Journal, Volume 47, Number 5, September/October 2013, pp. 117-127 [1]
  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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