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Thayer School of Engineering


Efforts to discriminate buried unexploded ordnance from harmless surrounding clutter are often hampered by the uncertainty in the number of buried targets that produce a given detected signal. We present a technique that helps determine that number with no need for data inversion. The procedure is based on the joint diagonalization of a set of multistatic response (MSR) matrices measured at different time gates by a time-domain electromagnetic induction sensor. In particular, we consider the Naval Research Laboratory’s Time-Domain Electromagnetic Multisensor Towed Array Detection System (TEMTADS), which consists of a 5×5 square grid of concentric transmitter/receiver pairs. The diagonalization process itself generalizes one of the standard procedures for extracting the eigenvalues of a single matrix; in terms of execution time, it is comparable to diagonalizing the matrices one by one. We present the method, discuss and illustrate its mathematical basis and physical meaning, and apply it to several actual measurements carried out with TEMTADS at a test stand and in the field at the former Camp Butner in North Carolina. We find that each target in a measurement is associated with a set of nonzero time-dependent MSR eigenvalues (usually three), which enables estimation of the number of targets interrogated. These eigenvalues have a characteristic shape as a function of time that does not change with the location and orientation of the target relative to the sensor. We justify analytically and empirically that symmetric targets have pairs of eigenvalues with constant ratios between them.