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WAVES Report Summary

Project ID: 641943
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WAVES (Waves and Wave-Based Imaging in Virtual and Experimental Environments)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Demand for highly trained scientists with a deep understanding of wave propagation in complex media, and capable of exploiting this knowledge to develop imaging tools for seismology and acoustics, is very high in the Earth and environmental sciences. Wave-based imaging serves to map spatial and temporal variations in the structure of the Earth's interior, of the oceans and atmosphere; it is used to monitor faults and volcanoes and detect natural-resource reservoirs. It is relevant to other disciplines, medical imaging being one of its most widespread applications. Today’s Earth scientists are faced with a set of questions that require the application of wave-based imaging at unprecedented resolution. WAVES aims at fostering scientific and technological advances in this context, stimulating knowledge exchange between seismologists and acousticians, and researchers in the public/private domains. A unique strength of our network resides in the participation of novel physical acoustics laboratories, managed by beneficiaries/partners of WAVES, with a strong record of experimental research on inter-disciplinary and seismology-related topics. WAVES trains young scientists working in academia or industry in how to use this resource effectively, re-introducing the laboratory into the ideas-to-applications pipeline. Experimental is helping us to develop new theory, addressing topics of current interest such as acoustic time-reversal, scattering-based imaging. A truly multidisciplinary network, WAVES applies these new ideas in a number of contexts: medical elastography is used as a tool to implement novel analogue models of seismic faults; wave sources are localized by a bio-inspired system making use of very few receivers, etc. Through WAVES, a critical mass of expertise will consolidate, defining the study of acoustic/elastic wave propagation and wave-based imaging/monitoring as an independent discipline, rich in applications of intellectual and societal relevance.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

All WAVES ESRs have started their doctoral studies in the second half of 2015 and have now concluded their first year of research. As it is usually the case with Ph.D. theses, some weeks/months have been devoted by each ESR to complete the necessary background to their research project. By now, all students have also carried out some tasks that involved original research. Specifically, ESRs whose thesis involves laboratory experiments have completed the necessary experimental set up. ESRs who make use of numerical modeling have verified that the software they are using is adequate to model the phenomena of interest. All ESRs have by now presented their work at international meetings—including the WAVES workshop in Doorn (September 2016) and the WAVES midterm review meeting in Paris (December 2016). All ESRs have at least participated in non-WAVES international conferences. The two planned workshops, and several short courses have taken place as explained in detail in our report; besides strengthening their scientific background and helping them in pursuing their research projects, these activities successfully fostered the interaction of ESRs, who are beginning to form their own network.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

To a large extent, WAVES research consists of harnessing the current progress in our understanding of the physics of elastic and acoustic waves, to develop novel wave-based imaging techniques; these can be relevant e.g. to resources (oil industry), health and life sciences (medical imaging), environmental hazards (monitoring faults, volcanoes, landslide-prone areas; understanding seismic source processes), geophysics and deep-Earth processes. WAVES also goes beyond imaging: one ESR contributes to understanding the auditory system of humans and other animals; much work is devoted to the topic of auditory display of scientific data, etc.

All thesis projects in WAVES are at the cutting edge of current science, and go beyond the state of the art as explained in our original proposal. Detailed and updated research plans for all our ESRs can now be read online through the WAVES website: In particular, some of the most sophisticated physical acoustics laboratories worldwide participate in WAVES, including LMA at Marseille (CNRS), ISTerre Grenoble (CNRS), Institut Langevin (ESPCI) and the geotechnology lab at TU Delft. Two new laboratories, RFPC at UEDIN and WaveLab at ETH, are growing and being harnessed in the framework of WAVES. WaveLab provides the only experimental setup worldwide where perfect acoustic time reversal can in principle be achieved, via a dense array of transducers covering all the walls of a closed tank. The RFPC lab is a unique facility, allowing (through the work of WAVES ESRs) to predict real-future fracturing of materials under stress: this research is naturally relevant to the topic of earthquake forecast.

WAVES also has the merit of forging new, unique interdisciplinary links: see for example the three research projects involving INSERM, UPMC and CNRS (Lyon, Paris, Grenoble), which are based on the collaboration between bio-medical researchers, seismologists, acousticians.

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