This study focuses on the application of H/α decomposition to original compact polarimetric (CP) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. In general, the authors can extract the physical scattering mechanisms (PSMs) of targets by using pseudo fully polarimetric (FP) data that are approximately reconstructed from the original CP data. In this study, the H/α decomposition is extended to the original CP data to avoid large data volume and heavy computational burden during the reconstruction of pseudo FP data, while escaping from the possible information loss caused by the reconstruction process. The H/α plane is modified and re-plotted out to discriminate different PSMs from CP data. Two CP modes are considered in the study: the π/4 mode and the dual circular polarimetric (DCP) mode. The study shows that under the DCP mode, the modified H/α decomposition performs well to discriminate different PSMs, whereas it collapses in the π/4 mode. The feasibility and effectiveness of the new H/α decomposition for CP modes are analysed and verified by experiments with measured airborne data.
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