Severe sidelobe interference is one of the major problems with traditional Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging. In the observation scene of sea areas, the number of targets in the observation scene is so small that targets can be regarded as sparse. Taking this into account, a method of sidelobe suppression, on the basis of sparsity constraint regularization, is proposed to reduce sidelobes of Gaofen-3 (GF-3) images in sea areas of the image domain. This proposed method has a prominent sidelobe suppression effect with resolution maintenance and without destruction of amplitude and phase information. This method can also be applied to SAR images of other satellites. In addition to the employment of peak sidelobe ratio (PSLR) and integrated sidelobe ratio (ISLR) in evaluating sidelobe suppression level, AE (amplitude error) and PE (phase error) are firstly defined for the evaluation of amplitude and phase-preserving quality, respectively. Through the proposed method, AE and PE values are nearly unchanged and the PSLR and ISLR are significantly reduced. The method, as an important part of the quality-improvement project of GF-3, has been successfully applied to the sidelobe suppression of GF-3 data.
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