General polarimetric model-based decomposition for coherency matrix

Si Wei Chen, Xue Song Wang, Shun Ping Xiao, Motoyuki Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)


Orientation angle compensation was incorporated into model-based decomposition to cure overestimation of the volume scattering contribution for interpretation of polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) data. The compensation is based on rotating the coherency matrix to minimize the cross-polarization term. However, this processing cannot always guarantee that the double-and odd-bounce scattering components will be rotated back to zero orientation angle and left with zero cross-polarization power. As a result, built-up patches with large orientation angles may still suffer from the scattering mechanism ambiguity. In this paper, double-and odd-bounce scattering models were generalized to fit the cross-polarization and off-diagonal terms, by separating their independent orientation angles. A general decomposition framework is proposed that utilizes all elements of a coherency matrix. The residual minimization criterion is used for model inversion. All the model parameters are simultaneously obtained using a nonlinear least squares optimization technique. The manual intervention, branch conditions, and negative power issues are avoided. The performance and advantages of this approach are demonstrated and evaluated with spaceborne L-band ALOS/PALSAR and airborne X-band Pi-SAR PolSAR data sets. Comparison studies are also carried out and demonstrate that further improved decomposition performance is achieved by the proposed method, especially in oriented built-up areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6530668
Pages (from-to)1843-1855
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar


  • Deorientation
  • general model
  • model-based decomposition
  • polarimetry
  • polarization orientation angle
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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