Optimal Detectors for Transient Signal Families and Nonlinear Sensors : Derivations and Applications

Abstract: This thesis is concerned with detection of transient signal families and detectors in nonlinear static sensor systems. The detection problems are treated within the framework of likelihood ratio based binary hypothesis testing.An analytical solution to the noncoherent detection problem is derived, which in contrast to the classical noncoherent detector, is optimal for wideband signals. An optimal detector for multiple transient signals with unknown arrival times is also derived and shown to yield higher detection performance compared to the classical approach based on the generalized likelihood ratio test.An application that is treated in some detail is that of ultrasonic nondestructive testing, particularly pulse-echo detection of defects in elastic solids. The defect detection problem is cast as a composite hypothesis test and a methodology, based on physical models, for designing statistically optimal detectors for cracks in elastic solids is presented. Detectors for defects with low computational complexity are also formulated based on a simple phenomenological model of the defect echoes. The performance of these detectors are compared with the physical model-based optimal detector and is shown to yield moderate performance degradation.Various aspects of optimal detection in static nonlinear sensor systems are also treated, in particular the stochastic resonance (SR) phenomenon which, in this context, implies noise enhanced detectability. Traditionally, SR has been quantified by means of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and interpreted as an increase of a system's information processing capability. Instead of the SNR, rigorous information theoretic distance measures, which truly can support the claim of noise enhanced information processing capability, are proposed as quantifiers for SR. Optimal detectors are formulated for two static nonlinear sensor systems and shown to exhibit noise enhanced detectability.