A method for distinguishing multiple targets using time-reversal acoustics. Time-reversal acoustics uses an iterative process to determine the optimum signal for locating a strongly reflecting target in a cluttered environment. An acoustic array sends a signal into a medium, and then receives the returned/reflected signal. This returned/reflected signal is then time-reversed and sent back into the medium again, and again, until the signal being sent and received is no longer changing. At that point, the array has isolated the largest eigenvalue/eigenvector combination and has effectively determined the location of a single target in the medium (the one that is most strongly reflecting). After the largest eigenvalue/eigenvector combination has been determined, to determine the location of other targets, instead of sending back the same signals, the method sends back these time reversed signals, but half of them will also be reversed in sign. There are various possibilities for choosing which half to do sign reversal. The most obvious choice is to reverse every other one in a linear array, or as in a checkerboard pattern in 2D. Then, a new send/receive, send-time reversed/receive iteration can proceed. Often, the first iteration in this sequence will be close to the desired signal from a second target. In some cases, orthogonalization procedures must be implemented to assure the returned signals are in fact orthogonal to the first eigenvector found.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.