A mathematical framework for inverse wave problems in heterogeneous media
Blazek, Kirk D.; Stolk, Christiaan; Symes, William W.
This paper provides a theoretical foundation for some common formulations of inverse problems in wave propagation, based on hyperbolic systems of linear integro-differential equations with bounded and measurable coefficients. The coefficients of these time-dependent partial differential equations represent parametrically the spatially varying mechanical properties of materials. Rocks, manufactured materials, and other wave propagation environments often exhibit spatial heterogeneity in mechanical properties at a wide variety of scales, and coefficient functions representing these properties must mimic this heterogeneity. We show how to choose domains (classes of nonsmooth coefficient functions) and data definitions (traces of weak solutions) so that optimization formulations of inverse wave problems satisfy some of the prerequisites for application of Newton's method and its relatives. These results follow from the properties of a class of abstract first-order evolution systems, of which various physical wave systems appear as concrete instances. Finite speed of propagation for linear waves with bounded, measurable mechanical parameter fields is one of the by-products of this theory.