Phase Noise in FMCW Radar Systems

Kashif Siddiq, Mervyn K. Hobden, Steve R. Pennock, Robert J. Watson

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Phase noise is one of the fundamental performance parameters in modern radar, communication, spectroscopic, and metrological systems. In this paper a phase noise theory has been developed for FMCW radar systems. A new design equation has been derived to specify the maximum bound on the allowable source phase noise level in radar systems. The non-linear phase noise decorrelation function due to coherent mixing has been analysed for propagation delays less than the coherence time of the reference oscillator, and the spectral broadening of target responses has been discussed for delay times greater than the coherence time. The effects of the subsystems in the transceiver chain are presented and a new model of phase noise in ADCs is discussed. Phase noise modelling techniques are presented, followed by a comparison of a PLL frequency synthesiser with a low-noise frequency synthesiser to demonstrate the reduction of phase noise sidebands for improved detection and tracking performance. Practical measurements from two millimetre wave FMCW radar systems utilising the two frequency synthesisers have been presented to validate the developed theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-81
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2019


  • coherence
  • FMCW radars
  • Frequency measurement
  • Frequency synthesizers
  • Phase locked loops
  • Phase noise
  • phase noise cancellation
  • Radar
  • Radio frequency
  • spectral analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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