, scattering theory
is a framework for studying and understanding the scattering
. Prosaically, wave scattering corresponds to the collision and scattering of a wave with some material object, for instance sunlight
scattered by rain drops
to form a rainbow
. Scattering also includes the interaction of billiard balls
on a table, the Rutherford scattering
(or angle change) of alpha particles
by gold nuclei
, the Bragg scattering (or diffraction) of electrons and X-rays by a cluster of atoms, and the inelastic scattering of a fission fragment as it traverses a thin foil. More precisely, scattering consists of the study of how solutions of partial differential equations
, propagating freely "in the distant past", come together and interact with one another or with a boundary condition
, and then propagate away "to the distant future".
The direct scattering problem
is the problem determining the distribution of scattered radiation/particle flux basing on the characteristics of the scatterer
The inverse scattering problem
is the problem of determining the characteristics of an object (e.g., its shape, internal constitution) from measurement data of radiation or particles scattered from the object.
Since its early statement for radiolocation
, the problem has found vast number of applications, such as echolocation
survey, nondestructive testing
, medical imaging
and quantum field theory
, to name just a......