Scatterer identification in a 2D geophysical medium using an augmented computational time reversal method

Daniel Rabinovich, Dan Givoli*, Jacobo Bielak, Eli Turkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The problem of identifying an obstacle (scatterer) in the form of a cavity in a 2D geophysical medium is considered. This is posed as an inverse wave problem, where the location of the cavity is sought based on measurements of the elastic waves recorded by sensors located at certain points in the domain. The sensor measurements are noisy, and are generated synthetically as a first step. The inverse problem is solved by seeking the minimum of a specially designed cost functional, based on a computational time reversal (TR) procedure, where waves are radiated back in time from the sensors. The cost functional is defined to measure, for each scatterer candidate in the search space, the quality of the refocusing of the backward-propagating waves on the given wave source at the end of the TR process. While the basic idea has appeared in previous publications, here it is applied to a 2D heterogeneous geophysical model (albeit a relatively simple one), and is enhanced by using several auxiliary techniques. These include (a) an “augmentation” technique, which is used to strengthen the coherent information (and thus to weaken the noncoherent information) by solving an elliptic problem at each time step; (b) experimentation with both instantaneous (impact) sources and time-harmonic sources of finite duration; (c) combining the identification results of several sources and several source wavelengths to enhance identification; (d) reducing the size of the search space by a special “zooming in” technique; and (e) defining a performance index to assess the method's success and to provide a measure of confidence in the identification result in each specific case. Several numerical experiments are presented that demonstrate the performance of the proposed schemes. The sensitivity of the identification process to various parameters of the scatterer, the measurements, and the medium is investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-892
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 2021


FundersFunder number
Kanner and Sloan Research Fund2028075
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology


    • augmentation
    • computational time reversal
    • elastodynamics
    • inverse problem
    • scatterer identification
    • solid earth geophysics


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