Investigating Key Techniques to Leverage the Functionality of Ground/Wall Penetrating Radar

Yu Zhang, University of Vermont


Ground penetrating radar (GPR) has been extensively utilized as a highly efficient and non-destructive testing method for infrastructure evaluation, such as highway rebar detection, bridge decks inspection, asphalt pavement monitoring, underground pipe leakage detection, railroad ballast assessment, etc. The focus of this dissertation is to investigate the key techniques to tackle with GPR signal processing from three perspectives: (1) Removing or suppressing the radar clutter signal; (2) Detecting the underground target or the region of interest (RoI) in the GPR image; (3) Imaging the underground target to eliminate or alleviate the feature distortion and reconstructing the shape of the target with good fidelity.

In the first part of this dissertation, a low-rank and sparse representation based approach is designed to remove the clutter produced by rough ground surface reflection for impulse radar. In the second part, Hilbert Transform and 2-D Renyi entropy based statistical analysis is explored to improve RoI detection efficiency and to reduce the computational cost for more sophisticated data post-processing. In the third part, a back-projection imaging algorithm is designed for both ground-coupled and air-coupled multistatic GPR configurations. Since the refraction phenomenon at the air-ground interface is considered and the spatial offsets between the transceiver antennas are compensated in this algorithm, the data points collected by receiver antennas in time domain can be accurately mapped back to the spatial domain and the targets can be imaged in the scene space under testing. Experimental results validate that the proposed three-stage cascade signal processing methodologies can improve the performance of GPR system.