Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr.Sean F. Wu


This dissertation presents innovate methodologies for locating, extracting, and separating multiple incoherent sound sources in three-dimensional (3D) space; and applications of the time reversal (TR) algorithm to pinpoint the hyper active neural activities inside the brain auditory structure that are correlated to the tinnitus pathology. Specifically, an acoustic modeling based method is developed for locating arbitrary and incoherent sound sources in 3D space in real time by using a minimal number of microphones, and the Point Source Separation (PSS) method is developed for extracting target signals from directly measured mixed signals. Combining these two approaches leads to a novel technology known as Blind Sources Localization and Separation (BSLS) that enables one to locate multiple incoherent sound signals in 3D space and separate original individual sources simultaneously, based on the directly measured mixed signals. These technologies have been validated through numerical simulations and experiments conducted in various non-ideal environments where there are non-negligible, unspecified sound reflections and reverberation as well as interferences from random background noise. Another innovation presented in this dissertation is concerned with applications of the TR algorithm to pinpoint the exact locations of hyper-active neurons in the brain auditory structure that are directly correlated to the tinnitus perception. Benchmark tests conducted on normal rats have confirmed the localization results provided by the TR algorithm. Results demonstrate that the spatial resolution of this source localization can be as high as the micrometer level. This high precision localization may lead to a paradigm shift in tinnitus diagnosis, which may in turn produce a more cost-effective treatment for tinnitus than any of the existing ones.