Efficient physics-based learned reconstruction methods for real-time 3D near-field MIMO radar imaging

Manisali I., ORAL O., ÖKTEM S. F.

Digital Signal Processing: A Review Journal, vol.144, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 144
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.dsp.2023.104274
  • Journal Name: Digital Signal Processing: A Review Journal
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, INSPEC
  • Keywords: 3D inverse imaging problems, Deep learning, Near-field microwave imaging, Radar imaging, Sparse MIMO array
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Near-field multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) radar imaging systems have recently gained significant attention. These systems generally reconstruct the three-dimensional (3D) complex-valued reflectivity distribution of the scene using sparse measurements. Consequently, imaging quality highly relies on the image reconstruction approach. Existing analytical reconstruction approaches suffer from either high computational cost or low image quality. In this paper, we develop novel non-iterative deep learning-based reconstruction methods for real-time near-field MIMO imaging. The goal is to achieve high image quality with low computational cost at compressive settings. The developed approaches have two stages. In the first approach, physics-based initial stage performs adjoint operation to back-project the measurements to the image-space, and deep neural network (DNN)-based second stage converts the 3D backprojected measurements to a magnitude-only reflectivity image. Since scene reflectivities often have random phase, DNN processes directly the magnitude of the adjoint result. As DNN, 3D U-Net is used to jointly exploit range and cross-range correlations. To comparatively evaluate the significance of exploiting physics in a learning-based approach, two additional approaches that replace the physics-based first stage with fully connected layers are also developed as purely learning-based methods. The performance is also analyzed by changing the DNN architecture for the second stage to include complex-valued processing (instead of magnitude-only processing), 2D convolution kernels (instead of 3D), and ResNet architecture (instead of U-Net). Moreover, we develop a synthesizer to generate large-scale dataset for training the neural networks with 3D extended targets. We illustrate the performance through experimental data and extensive simulations. The results show the effectiveness of the developed physics-based learned reconstruction approach compared to commonly used approaches in terms of both runtime and image quality at highly compressive settings. Our source codes and dataset are made available at https://github.com/METU-SPACE-Lab/Efficient-Learned-3D-Near-Field-MIMO-Imaging upon publication to advance research in this field.