Near-Field Superdirectivity: An Analytical Perspective

Dovid Y. Levin, Shmulik Markovich-Golan, Sharon Gannot

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The gain achieved by a superdirective beamformer operating in a diffuse noise-field is significantly higher than the gain attainable with conventional delay-and-sum weights. A classical result states that for a compact linear array consisting of $N$ sensors which receives a plane-wave signal from the end-fire direction, the optimal superdirective gain approaches $N^2$. It has been noted that in the near-field regime higher gains can be attained. The gain can increase, in theory, without bound for increasing wavelength or decreasing source-receiver distance. We aim to address the phenomenon of near-field superdirectivity in a comprehensive manner. We derive the optimal performance for the limiting case of an infinitesimal-aperture array receiving a spherical-wave signal. This is done with the aid of a sequence of linear transformations. The resulting gain expression is a polynomial, which depends on the number of sensors employed, the wavelength, and the source-receiver distance. The resulting gain curves are optimal and outperform weights corresponding to other superdirectivity methods. The practical case of a finite-aperture array is discussed. We present conditions for which the gain of such an array would approach that predicted by the theory of the infinitesimal case. The white noise gain (WNG) metric of robustness is shown to increase in the near-field regime.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9395250
Pages (from-to)1661-1674
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio Speech and Language Processing
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 IEEE.


  • Superdirectivity
  • array processing
  • beamforming
  • near-field
  • white noise gain


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