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Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

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Beamforming, Acoustic imaging, Eigenvectors


This paper introduces an eigenvector pruning algorithm for the estimation of the signal-plus-interference eigenspace, required as a preliminary step to subspace beamforming. The proposed method considers large-aperture passive array configurations operating in environments with multiple maneuvering targets in background noise, in which the available data for estimation of sample covariances and eigenvectors are limited. Based on statistical properties of scalar products between deterministic and complex random vectors, this work defines a statistically justified threshold to identify target-related features embedded in the sample eigenvectors, leading to an estimator for the signal-bearing eigenspace. It is shown that data projection into this signal subspace results in sharpening of beamforming outputs corresponding to closely spaced targets and provides better target separation compared to current subspace beamformers. In addition, the proposed threshold gives the user control over the worst-case scenario for the number of false detections by the beamformer. Simulated data are used to quantify the performance of the subspace estimator according to the distance between estimated and true signal subspaces. Beamforming resolution using the proposed method is analyzed with simulated data corresponding to a horizontal line array, as well as experimental data from the Shallow Water Array Performance experiment.


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