Prof. Philippe PAILLOU

Université de Bordeaux

Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux – UMR 5804

Bâtiment B18N, allée Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire

33615 Pessac Cedex, FRANCE

Tel: +33 5 40 00 32 80


Web site:


Born October 28th, 1965 in Vitry-le-François, France.

French citizen, married, three children.


Engineer diploma from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Physique de Strasbourg, 1989.

PhD in image processing from the University of Strasbourg, 1992.

Professorship habilitation from the University of Bordeaux, 2001.


Assistant Professor, University of Bordeaux, 1993-2003.

CNRS researcher, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, 1998-2001.

Full Professor, University of Bordeaux, since 2004.

In charge of the CNES “low frequency radar working group”, 2000-2005.

Head of Planetology group of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, 2002-2005.

Deputy director of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, 2003-2005.

Scientific advisor for the Département Electromagnétisme et Radar – ONERA.

Scientific advisor for the Earth Observation group – CNES.

Scientific advisor for the Earth Observation program – ESA.

Scientific advisor for the Planetary Science division – NASA.

Distinguished Visiting Scientist at JPL – Caltech (2008-2009).


Reviewer for Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Geophysical Research Letters, Icarus, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of Applied Geophysics, Planetary and Space Science, Journal of African Earth Sciences, Marine and Petroleum Geology, Journal of the Geological Society, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing of Environment.

Research Interest

Image processing and electromagnetic modeling applied to radar remote sensing: relief reconstruction, roughness mapping, subsurface imaging. Comparative study between arid areas on Earth (Sahara, Central Asia) and planetary surfaces (Venus, Mars, Titan). Use of low frequency SAR in desert regions for subsurface moisture detection and geology mapping.

Participation to several space exploration and Earth observation missions: ALOS/PALSAR (JAXA), ALOS-2 (JAXA), CASSINI/RADAR (NASA/JPL), EXOMARS/WISDOM (ESA), MARS2020/SUPERCAM (NASA/CNES), BIOMASS (Earth Explorer, ESA).

Most significant research results: discovery of impact craters in Libya and of a large crater field in Egypt, discovery of major paleo-rivers in Libya and Mauritania, participation to the discovery of methane lakes on Titan, revealing of a radar phase signature to map subsurface moisture and soil salinity.


Ph. Paillou, B. Seignovert, J. Radebaugh, S.Wall, "Radar scattering of linear dunes and mega-yardangs: Application to Titan", Icarus, vol. 270, pp. 211-221, 2016.

Ch. Skonieczny, Ph. Paillou , A. Bory, G. Bayon, L. Biscara, X. Crosta, F. Eynaud, B. Malaizé, M. Revel, N. Aleman, J.-P. Barusseau, J. Vernet, S. Lopez, F. Grousset, "African Humid periods triggered the reactivation of a large river system in Western Sahara", Nature Comm., Nov. 10th, 2015, doi: 10.1038/NCOMMS9751.

T. Sternberg, Ph. Paillou, "Mapping potential shallow groundwater in the Gobi using remote sensing: Lake Ulaan Nuur", Journal of Arid Environments, vol. 118, pp. 21-27, 2015.

Ph. Paillou, S. Sufyar, A. Freeman, "The chott El Djerid, Tunisia: Observation and discussion of a SAR phase signature over evaporitic soils", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 52, no. 9, pp. 5798-5806, 2014.

Ph. Paillou, D. Bernard, J. Radebaugh, R. Lorenz, A. Le Gall, T. Farr, "Modeling the SAR Backscatter of Linear Dunes on Earth and Titan", Icarus, vol. 230, pp. 208-214, 2014.

J. Hofgartner, A. Hayes, J. Lunine, H. Zebker, B. Stiles, C. Sotin, J. Barnes, E. Turtle, K. Baines, R. Brown, B. Buratti, R. Clark, P. Encrenaz, R. Kirk, A. Le Gall, R. Lopes, R Lorenz, M. Malaska, K. Mitchell, P. Nicholson, Ph. Paillou, J. Radebaugh, S. Wall, C. Wood, "Transient features in a Titan sea", Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo2190, 2014.

M. Mastrogiuseppe, V. Poggiali, A. Hayes, R. Lorenz, J. Lunine, G. Picardi, R. Seu, E. Flamini, G. Mitri, C. Notarnicola, Ph. Paillou, H. Zebker, "The Bathymetry of a Titan Sea", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 1432-1437, 2014.

P.-L. Frison, Ph. Paillou, N. Sayah, E. Pottier, J.-P. Rudant, "Spatio-temporal monitoring of evaporitic processes using multi-resolution C band radar remote sensing data: example over the Chott el Djerid", Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 127-137, 2013.

Ph. Paillou, S. Tooth, S. Lopez, "The Kufrah Paleodrainage System in Libya: A Past Connection to the Mediterranean Sea ?", C.R. Geoscience, vol. 344, pp. 406-414, 2012.

X. Yang, L. Scuderi, T. Liu, Ph. Paillou, H. Li, J. Dong, B. Zhu, W. Jiang, A. Jochems, G. Weissmann, "Formation of the highest sand dunes on Earth", Geomorphology, vol. 135, pp. 108-116, 2011.

X. Yang, L. Scuderi, Ph. Paillou, Z. Liu, H. Li, X. Ren, "Quaternary environmental change in the drylands of China", Quaternary Science Reviews, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.08.009, 2011.

T. Le Toan, S. Quegan, M. Davidson,, H. Baltzer, Ph. Paillou, K. Papathanassiou, S. Plummer, F. Rocca, S. Saatchi, H. Shugart, L. Ulander, "The BIOMASS mission: Mapping global forest biomass to better understand the terrestrial carbon cycle", Remote Sensing of the Environment, vol. 115, no. 11, pp. 2850-2860, 2011.

H. Lawrence, F. Demontoux, J.P. Wigneron, Ph. Paillou, T.D. Wu, Y. Kerr, "Evaluation of a numerical modeling approach based on the finite element method for calculating the rough surface scattering and emission of a soil layer", IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 953-957, 2011.

A. Hayes, O. Aharonson, J. Lunine, R. Kirk, H. Zebker, L. Wye, R. Lorenz, E. Turtle, Ph. Paillou, G. Mitri, S. Wall, E. Stofan, K. Mitchell, C. Elachi, "Transient surface liquid in Titan’s polar regions from Cassini", Icarus, vol. 211, pp. 655-671, 2011.

Ph. Paillou, S. Lopez, T. Farr, A. Rosenqvist, "Mapping Subsurface Geology in Sahara using L-band SAR: First Results from the ALOS/PALSAR Imaging Radar", IEEE J. of Selected Topics in Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, vol. 3, no 4, pp. 632-636, 2010.

A. Hayes, A. Wolf, O. Aharonson, H. Zebker, R. Lorenz, R. Kirk, Ph. Paillou, J. Lunine, L. Wye, P. Callahan, S. Wall, Ch. Elachi, "Bathymetry and absorptivity of Titan's Ontario lacus", Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 115, E09009, doi:10.1029/2009JE003557, 2010.

A. Le Gall, M.A. Janssen, Ph. Paillou, R.D. Lorenz, S.D. Wall, "Radar-bright channels on Titan", Icarus, vol. 207, pp. 948-958, 2010.

S. Wall, A. Hayes, C. Bristow, R. Lorenz, E. Stofan, J. Lunine, A. Le Gall, M. Janssen, R. Lopes, L. Wye, L. Soderblom, Ph. Paillou, O. Aharonson, H. Zebker, T. Farr, G. Mitri, R. Kirk, K. Mitchell, C. Notarnicola, D. Casarano, B. Ventura, "The active shoreline of Ontario Lacus, Titan: a morphological study of the lake and its surroundings", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 37, L05202, doi:10.1029/2009GL041821, 2010.

Ch. Grenier, Ph. Paillou, P. Maugis, "Assessment of Holocene surface hydrological connections for the Ounianga lake catchment zone (Chad)", C.R. Geoscience, vol. 341, pp. 770-782, 2009.

J. Radebaugh, R. Lorenz, T. Farr, Ph. Paillou, C. Savage, C. Spencer, "Linear dunes on Titan and Earth: Initial remote sensing comparisons", Geomorphology, vol. 121, pp. 122-132, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.02.022, 2009.

Y. Lasne, Ph. Paillou, A. Freeman, T. Farr, K. McDonald, G. Ruffié, J.-M. Malézieux, B. Chapman, "Study of hyper-saline deposits and analysis of their signature in airborne and spaceborne SAR data: Example of Death Valley, California", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 47, no. 8-1, pp. 2581-2598, 2009.

S.D. Wall, R.M. Lopes, E.R. Stofan, C.A. Wood, J. Radebaugh, B.W. Stiles, R.M. Nelson, L.W. Kamp, M.A. Janssen, R.L. Lorenz, J.I. Lunine, T.G. Farr, G. Mitri, Ph. Paillou, K.L. Mitchell, "Cassini RADAR images at Hotei Arcus and western Xanadu, Titan: Evidence for geologically recent cryovolcanic activity", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 36, L04203, doi:10.1029/2008GL036415, 2009.

Ph. Paillou, M. Schuster, S. Tooth, T. Farr, A. Rosenqvist, S. Lopez, J.-M. Malézieux, "Mapping of a major paleodrainage system in Eastern Libya using orbital imaging Radar: The Kufrah River", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 277, pp. 327-333, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2008.10.029, 2009.

Ph. Paillou, J.I. Lunine, G. Ruffié, P. Encrenaz, S.D. Wall, R.D. Lorenz, M.A. Janssen, "Microwave dielectric constant of Titan-relevant materials", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 35, L18202, doi:10.1029/2008GL035216, 2008.

Ph. Paillou, K.L. Mitchell, S.D. Wall, G. Ruffié, C.A. Wood, R.D. Lorenz, E.R. Stofan, J.I. Lunine, R.M. Lopes, P. Encrenaz, "Microwave dielectric constant of liquid hydrocarbons: Application to the depth estimation of Titan's lakes", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 35, L05202, doi:10.1029/2007GL032515, 2008.

S. Le Mouélic, Ph. Paillou, M. Janssen, J. Barnes, S. Rodriguez, Ch. Sotin, R.H. Brown, K. Baines, B. Buratti, R. Clark, M. Crapeau, P. Encrenaz, R. Jaumann, D. Geutner, F. Paganelli, L. Soderblom, G. Tobie, S. Wall, "Joint analysis of Cassini VIMS and RADAR data: Application to the mapping of Sinlap crater on Titan", Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 113, E04003, doi:10.1029/2007JE002965, 2008.

Y. Lasne, Ph. Paillou, G. Ruffié, C. Serradilla, J.-M. Malézieux, A. Freeman, T. Farr, K. McDonald, "Effect of salinity on the dielectric properties of geological materials: Implication on soil moisture detection by means of remote sensing", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 1674-1688, 2008.

R.D. Lorenz, K.L. Mitchell, R.L. Kirk, A.G. Hayes, O. Aharonson, H.A. Zebker, Ph. Paillou, J. Radebaugh, J. Lunine, M.A. Janssen, S.D. Wall, R.M. Lopes, B. Stiles, S. Ostro, G. Mitri, E. Stofan, "Titan's inventory of organic surface material", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 35, L02206, doi:10.1029/2007GL032118, 2008.

J. Radebaugh, R. Lorenz, J. Lunine, S. Wall, G. Boubin, E. Reffet, R. Kirk, R. Lopes, E. Stofan, L. Soderblom, M. Allison, M. Janssen, Ph. Paillou, P. Callahan, C. Spencer, "Dunes on Titan observed by Cassini Radar", Icarus, vol. 194, pp. 690-703, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.10.015, 2008.

J. I. Lunine, Ch. Elachi, S. D. Wall, M. D. Allison, Y. Anderson, R. Boehmer, P. Callahan, P. Encrenaz, E. Flamini, G. Franceschetti, Y. Gim, G. Hamilton, S. Hensley, M. A. Janssen, W. T. K. Johnson, K. Kelleher, R. L. Kirk, R. M. Lopes, R. Lorenz , D. O. Muhleman, R. Orosei, S. J. Ostro, F. Paganelli, Ph. Paillou, G. Picardi, F. Posa, J. Radebaugh, L. E. Roth, R. Seu, S. Shaffer, L. A. Soderblom, B. Stiles, E. R. Stofan, S. Vetrella, R. West, C. A. Wood, L. Wye, H. Zebker, G. Alberti, E. Karkoschka, B. Rizk, C. See, B. Kazeminejad, "Titan diverse landscapes as evidenced by Cassini Radar’s third and fourth look at Titan", Icarus, vol. 195, no. 1, pp. 415-433, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2007.12.022, 2008.

E. R. Stofan, C. Elachi, J. I. Lunine, R. D. Lorenz, B. Stiles, K. Mitchell, S. Ostro, L. Soderblom, C. Wood, H. Zebker, S. Wall, M. Janssen, R. Kirk, R. Lopes, F. Paganelli, J. Radebaugh, L. Wye, Y. Anderson, M. Allison, R. Boehmer, P. Callahan, P. Encrenaz, E. Flamini, G. Francescetti, Y. Gim, G. Hamilton, S. Hensley, W. T. K. Johnson, K. Kelleher, D. Muhleman, Ph. Paillou, G. Picardi, F. Posa, L. Roth, R. Seu, S. Shaffer, S. Vetrella, R. West, "The lakes of Titan", Nature, vol. 445, doi:10.1038/nature05438, 2007.

Ph. Paillou, M. Crapeau, Ch. Elachi, S. Wall, P. Encrenaz, "Models of SAR backscattering for bright flows and dark spots on Titan", Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 111, E11011, doi:10.1029/2006JE002724, 2006.

Ph. Paillou, B. Reynard, J.-M. Malézieux, J. Dejax, E. Heggy, P. Rochette, W. U. Reimold, P. Michel, D. Baratoux, Ph. Razin, J.-P. Colin, "An extended field of crater-shaped structures in the Gilf Kebir region – Egypt: Observations and hypotheses about their origin", Journal of African Earth Sciences, vol. 46, pp. 281-299, 2006.

Ph. Paillou, Y. Lasne, E. Heggy, J.-M. Malézieux, "A study of P-band SAR applicability and performance for Mars exploration: Imaging subsurface geology and detecting shallow moisture", Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 111, E06S11, doi:10.1029/2005JE002528, 2006.

F. Garestier, P. Dubois-Fernandez, X. Dupuis, Ph. Paillou, "PolInsar analysis of X-band data over vegetated and urban areas", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 356-364, 2006.

E. Heggy, Ph. Paillou, "Mapping structural elements of small buried craters using GPR in the southwestern Egyptian desert: Implications for Mars shallow sounding", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 33, L05202, 2006.

G. Grandjean, Ph. Paillou, N. Bahgdadi, E. Heggy, T. August, Y. Lasne, "Surface and subsurface structures mapping using low frequency radar: A synthesis of the Mauritanian and Egyptian experiments", Journal of African Earth Sciences, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 220-228, 2006.

Y. Lasne, Ph. Paillou, G. Ruffié, M. Crapeau, "Effect of multiple scattering on the phase signature of wet subsurface structures: Applications to polarimatric L and C-band SAR", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 43, no. 8, pp. 1716-1726, 2005.

G. Grandjean, Ph. Paillou, N. Baghdadi, "A volume scattering model for coupled interpretation of ground-penetrating radar and synthetic aperture radar", Subsurface Sensing Technologies and Applications, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 151-164, 2004.

Ph. Paillou, A. El Barkooky, A. Barakat, J.-M. Malézieux, B. Reynard, J. Dejax, E. Heggy, "Discovery of the largest crater field on Earth in the Gilf Kebir region, Egypt", C.R. Geoscience, vol. 336, pp. 1491-1500, 2004.

Y. Lasne, Ph. Paillou, Th. August-Bernex, G. Ruffié, G. Grandjean, "A phase signature for detecting subsurface wet structures using polarimetric L-band SAR data", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 42, no. 8, pp. 1683-1694, 2004.

Ph. Paillou, A. Rosenqvist, J.-M. Malézieux, B. Reynard, T. Farr, E. Heggy, "Discovery of a double impact crater in Libya: the astrobleme of Arkenu", C.R. Geoscience, vol. 335, pp. 1059-1069, 2003.

M. Gelautz, Ph. Paillou, C. Chen, H. Zebker, "Radar stereo and interferometry derived digital elevation models: Comparison and combination using Radarsat and ERS-2 imagery", International Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 24, no. 24, pp.5243-5264, 2003.

S. Rodriguez, Ph. Paillou, M. Dobrijevic, G. Ruffié, P. Coll, J.-M. Bernard, P. Encrenaz, "Impact of tholins present in Titan’s atmosphere on the Cassini Radar experiment", Icarus, vol. 164, no. 1, pp. 213-227, 2003.

Ph. Paillou, G. Grandjean, N. Baghdadi, E. Heggy, Th. August-Bernex, J. Achache, "Sub-surface imaging in central-southern Egypt using low frequency radar: Bir Safsaf revisited", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 41, no. 7, pp. 1672-1684, 2003.

E. Heggy, Ph. Paillou, F. Costard, N. Mangold, G. Ruffié, F. Demantoux, G. Grandjean, J.-M. Malézieux, "Local geo-electrical models of the Martian subsurface for shallow ground water detection using sounding radar", Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 108, no. E4, 2003.

E. Heggy, Ph. Paillou, G. Ruffié, J.-M. Malézieux, F. Costard, G. Grandjean, "On water detection in the Martian subsurface using sounding Radar", Icarus, vol. 154, no. 2, pp. 244-257, 2001.

Ph. Paillou, G. Grandjean, J.-M. Malézieux, G. Ruffié, E. Heggy, D. Piponnier, P. Dubois, J. Achache, "Performances of Ground Penetrating Radars in Arid Volcanic Regions: Consequences for Mars Subsurface Exploration", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 911-914, 2001.

G. Grandjean, Ph. Paillou, P. Dubois, T. August-Bernex, N. Baghdadi, J. Achache, "Subsurface structures detection by combining L-band polarimetric SAR and GPR data: Example of the Pyla Dune (France)", IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 1245-1258, 2001.

N. Baghdadi, Ph. Paillou, G. Grandjean, P. Dubois, M. Davidson, "Relationship between Profile Length and Roughness Parameters for Natural Surfaces", International Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 21, no. 17, pp. 3375-3381, 2000.