Backscatter Analysis of Dihedral Corner Reflectors Using Physical Optics and the Physical Theory of Diffraction

Timothy Griesser, Constantine Balanis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Physical optics (PO) and the physical theory of diffraction (PTD) are used to determine the backscatter cross sections of dihedral corner reflectors in the azimuthal plane for the vertical and horizontal polarizations. The analysis incorporates single, double, and triple reflections; single diffractions; and reflection-diffractions. Two techniques for analyzing these backscatter mechanisms are contrasted. In the first method, geometrical optics (GO) is used in place of physical optics at initial reflections to maintain the planar nature of the reflected wave and subsequently reduce the complexity of the analysis. The objective is to avoid any surface integrations which cannot be performed in closed form. This technique is popular because it is inherently simple and is readily amenable to computer solutions. In the second method, physical optics is used at nearly every reflection to maximize the accuracy of the PTD solution at the expense of a rapid increase in complexity. In this technique, many of the integrations cannot be easily performed, and numerical techniques must be utilized. However, this technique can yield significant improvements in accuracy. In this paper, the induced surface current densities and the resulting cross section patterns are illustrated for these two methods. Experimental measurements confirm the accuracy of the analytical calculations for dihedral corner reflectors with right, acute, and obtuse interior angles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1147
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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