Introduction to the Inverse Scattering Transform

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Nonlinear PDE's Course
Current Topic Introduction to the Inverse Scattering Transform
Next Topic Properties of the Linear Schrodinger Equation
Previous Topic Conservation Laws for the KdV



The inverse scattering transformation gives a way to solve the KdV equation exactly. You can think about is as being an analogous transformation to the Fourier transformation, except it works for a non linear equation. We want to be able to solve

[math]\begin{matrix} \partial_{t}u+6u\partial_{x}u+\partial_{x}^{3}u & =0\\ u(x,0) & =f\left( x\right) \end{matrix}[/math]

with [math]\left\vert u\right\vert \rightarrow0[/math] as [math]x\rightarrow\pm\infty.[/math]

The Miura transformation is given by

[math] u=-v^{2}-v_{x}\, [/math]

and if [math]v[/math] satisfies the mKdV

[math] \partial_{t}v-6v^{2}\partial_{x}v+\partial_{x}^{3}v=0 [/math]

then [math]u[/math] satisfies the KdV (but not vice versa). We can think about the Miura transformation as being a nonlinear ODE solving for [math]v[/math] given [math]u.[/math] This nonlinear ODE is also known as the Riccati equation and there is a well know transformation which linearises this equation. It we write

[math] v=\frac{\left( \partial_{x}w\right) }{w} [/math]

then we obtain the equation

[math] \partial_{x}^{2}w+uw=0 [/math]

The KdV is invariant under the transformation [math]x\rightarrow x+6\lambda t,[/math] [math]u\rightarrow u+\lambda.[/math] Therefore we consider the associated eigenvalue problem

[math] \partial_{x}^{2}w+uw=-\lambda w [/math]

The eigenfunctions and eigenvalues of this scattering problem play a key role in the inverse scattering transformation. Note that this is Schrodinger's equation.