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This paper proposes a robust signal detection procedure based on generalised patterns in time-frequency space. The paper derives a non-linear time domain correlation process which is equivalent to a time-frequency based detection scheme. The performance of this robust detection scheme in the additive white Gaussian noise case is evaluated with the aid of receiver operating curves. Some examples are given which show that the proposed procedure under nominal conditions does not perform as well as standard detection scheme (ie matched filter) but gives better performance when the measured signal deviates from its nominal model.