The Hankel spectral analysis was introduced by Braun et al. (1987) in order to study the relationship between inward and outward traveling waves around sunspots. Consider a spherical polar coordinate system (colatitude , azimuth ) with a sunspot situated on the polar axis , and an annular region on the solar surface surrounding the sunspot (). The goal is to decompose the oscillation signal in the annular region, , into components of the form
where is the azimuthal order, , is the spherical harmonic degree, is the temporal frequency, and are Hankel functions of the first and second kind. Hankel functions are used as numerical approximations, to the more exact combination of the Legendre functions and used in spherical geometry. This approximation, valid in the limit , is always good in practice and is not a limitation of the technique (Braun, 1995). For reference, we recall that in the farfield approximation (), which makes clear that the functions and represent the complex amplitudes of the incoming and outgoing waves respectively. The wave amplitudes are computed according to (Braun et al., 1992): In these expressions, is the duration of the observation and is a normalisation constant, where . The procedure to perform the numerical transforms is discussed by Braun et al. (1988). The time and azimuthal transforms use the standard fast Fourier transform algorithm, with azimuthal orders in the range . In particular, the frequency grid is given by , where and is an integer value. The spatial Hankel transform is computed for a set of discrete values , that provide an orthogonal set of Hankel functions: This condition is approximately satisfied for , where and is an integer (Braun et al., 1988). The maximum degree is given by the Nyquist value , where is the spatial sampling, while the minimum degree below which the orthogonality condition ceases to be valid is . We note that the outer radius of the annulus, , must not be too large since waves should remain coherent over the travel distance . This implies that , where and are respectively the group velocity and the lifetime of the waves under study. In addition, the travel time across the annulus should be less than the duration of the observation (waves must be observed first as incoming waves and later as outgoing waves). This implies .
The original motivation for the Hankel analysis was to search for wave absorption by sunspots. Braun et al. (1987) defined the absorption coefficient by
Braun (1995) remarks that this definition of the absorption coefficient may not necessarily represent wave dissipation as it ignores mode mixing. In practice, some averaging must be done to reduce the noise level. For example, Braun et al. (1987) averaged and over all azimuthal orders and over the frequency range . Braun (1995) obtained a reasonable signaltonoise level only by averaging in frequency space over the width of a ridge (radial order ) at fixed : where the angle brackets denote a frequency average over the width of the ridge around the frequency of the mode . The function is introduced to remove the background power (see Figure 8). Braun (1995) also made averages over all azimuthal orders, to obtain an absorption coefficient for each ridge and each wavenumber denoted by . Hankel analysis revealed that sunspots are strong absorbers of incoming p and f modes. As a check, the same analysis applied to quietSun data does not show significant absorption.

Braun et al. (1992) and Braun (1995) were successful at measuring the relative phase shift between outgoing and ingoing waves. Phase shifts measurements require a lot of care. Braun et al. (1992) pointed out that the phases of and represent averages over a resolution element with size . For example, Braun (1995) has and Hz.
The finite resolution in wavenumber introduces spurious phases. This can be seen by considering first the transform (Equation (34)) of an incoming wave with amplitude , wavenumber , azimuthal order , frequency , and phase . Using the farfield approximation of the Hankel functions, we have
where . The transform (Equation (35)) applied to an outgoing wave with amplitude , wavenumber , azimuthal order , frequency , and phase , gives Thus the phase difference between the outgoing and incoming waves measured at grid point is given by where is the correct phase difference at wavenumber , and is a spurious phase shift. (The notations here are not the same as those of Braun (1995).)

Let us now consider actual observations. The p modes are distributed along ridges corresponding to different radial orders , whose frequency positions in the  diagram are specified by known functions . There may be several unresolved modes in the resolution element . The condition (Section 4.1.1) is equivalent to , where the prime denotes a derivative. This means that the spread in of the ridge across the frequency step is much smaller than the wavenumber resolution . In this case Braun et al. (1992) estimate the spurious phase shift from Equation (42) by letting equal to the mean wavenumber of the unresolved modes. Since , the frequency dependence of the spurious shifts is given by (Braun et al., 1992)
Figure 9 shows phase shifts measurements for quietSun data (Braun, 1995). The predicted values of the spurious shifts, given by the above equation, agree with the observations. The corrected average phase shift is obtained from the phase of averaged over and some frequency range. As expected for the quiet Sun, the average phase shift is zero once the spurious shift has been subtracted. This control experiment shows, in particular, that the values of and interpolated from modern pmode frequency tables are precise enough for the analysis.Using a similar technique, Braun (1995) measured correlations between incoming and outgoing waves with different radial orders and . He found that sunspots introduce nonzero averaged phase shifts for . This observation gives hope for a full characterization of the sunspotwave interaction, encapsulated in the scattering matrix defined by
where the indices and refer to individual modes , the are the complex amplitudes of the incoming waves, and the are the complex amplitudes of the outgoing waves. Mode mixing introduced by a scatterer shows as offdiagonal elements in the scattering matrix. All techniques of local helioseismology are based on some knowledge of the scattering matrix, implicitly or explicitly.http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp20056 
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