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This paper addresses the problem of target detection against a background of Gaussian clutter by using frequency snapshots with reduced degrees of freedom (DOF). We derive the optimal detector and detection performance under the Neyman-Pearson criterion for general frequency snapshot selection with arbitrary DOF. When the clutter statistics are unknown, we use a uniformly random frequency snapshot selection method and show how the DOF employed affects the detection performance. When the clutter return follows a stationary Gaussian distribution with slowly varying power spectral density, the optimal selection is derived. When the clutter is composed of reflected versions of the transmitted waveforms, a greedy-based method for selecting the frequency snapshots is presented. Numerical experiments show that a receiver with reduced DOF can lead to detection performance which is very close to that of the receiver with full DOF.
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