Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's Department

Electrical & Systems Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Source number detection and direction-of-arrival (DOA) estimation are two major applications of sensor arrays. Both applications are often confined to the use of uniform linear arrays (ULAs), which is expensive and difficult to yield wide aperture. Besides, a ULA with N scalar sensors can resolve at most N − 1 sources. On the other hand, a systematic approach was recently proposed to achieve O(N 2 ) degrees of freedom (DOFs) using O(N) sensors based on a nested array, which is obtained by combining two or more ULAs with successively increased spacing.

This dissertation will focus on a fundamental study of statistical signal processing of nested arrays. Five important topics are discussed, extending the existing nested-array strategies to more practical scenarios. Novel signal models and algorithms are proposed.

First, based on the linear nested array, we consider the problem for wideband Gaussian sources. To employ the nested array to the wideband case, we propose effective strategies to apply nested-array processing to each frequency component, and combine all the spectral information of various frequencies to conduct the detection and estimation. We then consider the practical scenario with distributed sources, which considers the spreading phenomenon of sources.

Next, we investigate the self-calibration problem for perturbed nested arrays, for which existing works require certain modeling assumptions, for example, an exactly known array geometry, including the sensor gain and phase. We propose corresponding robust algorithms to estimate both the model errors and the DOAs. The partial Toeplitz structure of the covariance matrix is employed to estimate the gain errors, and the sparse total least squares is used to deal with the phase error issue.

We further propose a new class of nested vector-sensor arrays which is capable of significantly increasing the DOFs. This is not a simple extension of the nested scalar-sensor array. Both the signal model and the signal processing strategies are developed in the multidimensional sense. Based on the analytical results, we consider two main applications: electromagnetic (EM) vector sensors and acoustic vector sensors.

Last but not least, in order to make full use of the available limited valuable data, we propose a novel strategy, which is inspired by the jackknifing resampling method. Exploiting numerous iterations of subsets of the whole data set, this strategy greatly improves the results of the existing source number detection and DOA estimation methods.


English (en)


Arye Nehorai

Committee Members

Norman I Katz, Nan Lin, Hiro Mukai, Heinz Schaettler


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