Recently, the use of three-dimensional correlation for multichannel pattern recognition has been introduced. In this work we propose the use of circular harmonic components with this new technique to obtain invariance under target rotations. The differences between this method and the previous use of circular harmonic filters for multichannel images are discussed. Also the problem of determining the proper center is studied and, to our knowledge, a new and more understandable criterion to locate it is introduced. Some simulation results to verify the successful operation of the method are included. © 2003 Optical Society of America.