Filtering deterministic layer effects in imaging

Borcea, Liliana and Gonzalez del Cueto, Fernando and Papanicolaou, George and Tsogka, Chrysoula (2012) Filtering deterministic layer effects in imaging. SIAM Review, 54 (4). pp. 757-798.

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Sensor array imaging arises in applications such as nondestructive evaluation of materials with ultrasonic waves, seismic exploration, and radar. The sensors probe a medium with signals and record the resulting echoes, which are then processed to determine the location and reflectivity of remote reflectors. These could be defects in materials such as voids, fault lines or salt bodies in the earth, and cars, buildings or aircraft in radar applications. Imaging is relatively well understood when the medium through which the signals propagate is smooth, and therefore non-scattering. But in many problems the medium is heterogeneous, with numerous small inhomogeneities that scatter the waves. We refer to the collection of inhomogeneities as clutter. It introduces an uncertainty in imaging because it is unknown and impossible to estimate in detail. We model the clutter as a random process. The array data is measured in one realization of the random medium, and the challenge is to mitigate cumulative clutter scattering so as to obtain robust images that are statistically stable with respect to different realizations of the inhomogeneities. Scatterers that are not buried too deep in clutter can be imaged reliably with the coherent interferometric (CINT) approach. But in heavy clutter the signal to noise ratio (SNR) is low and CINT alone does not work. The ``signal'', the echoes from the scatterers to be imaged are overwhelmed by the ``noise'', the strong clutter reverberations. There are two existing approaches for imaging at low SNR: The first operates under the premise that data are incoherent so that only intensity of the scattered field can be used. The unknown coherent scatterers that we want to image are modeled as changes in the coefficients of diffusion or radiative transport equations satisfied by the intensities, and the problem becomes one of parameter estimation. Because the estimation is severely ill posed, the results have poor resolution, unless very good prior information is available and large arrays are used. The second approach recognizes that if there is some residual coherence in the data, that is, some reliable phase information is available, it is worth trying to extract it and use it with well posed coherent imaging methods, to obtain images with better resolution. This paper takes the latter approach, and presents a first attempt at enhancing the SNR of the array data by suppressing medium reverberations. It introduces filters or annihilators of layer backscatter, that are designed to remove primary echoes from strong, isolated layers in a medium with additional random layering at small, sub-wavelength scales. These strong layers are called deterministic because they can be imaged from the data. However, our goal is not to image the layers, but to suppress them and thus enhance the echoes from compact scatterers buried deep in the medium. Surprisingly, the layer annihilators work better than intended, in the sense that they suppress not only the echoes from the deterministic layers but also multiply scattered ones in the randomly layered structure. Following the layer annihilators presented here, other filters of general, non-layered heavy clutter have been developed. We review these more recent developments and the challenges of imaging in heavy clutter in the introduction in order to place the research presented here in context. We then present in detail the layer annihilators and show with analysis and numerical simulations how they work.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Depositing User: Chrysoula Tsogka
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2013 12:27
Last Modified: 06 May 2017 00:22

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