The integral equation method (IEM) and differential equation methods have been widely applied to provide numerical solutions of the electromagnetic (EM) fields caused by inhomogeneity for the controlled-source EM method. IEM has a bounded computational domain and has been well-known for its efficiency, whereas differential equation methods are commonly used for complex geologic models. To use the advantages of the two types of approaches, a hybrid method is developed based on the combination of IEM and the edge-based finite-element method (vector FEM). In the hybrid scheme, Maxwell’s differential equations of the secondary electric fields in the frequency domain are derived for a volume with boundary placed slightly away from the inhomogeneity. The vector FEM is applied to solve Maxwell’s differential equations, and a system of linear equations for the secondary electric fields can be derived by the minimum theorem. The secondary electric fields on the boundary are represented by IEM in terms of the secondary electric fields inside the inhomogeneity. The linear equations from substituting the boundary values into the vector FEM linear equations then can be solved to obtain the secondary electric fields inside the inhomogeneity. The secondary electric fields at receivers are calculated by IEM based on the secondary electric field solutions inside the inhomogeneity. The hybrid algorithm is verified by comparison of simulated results with earlier works on canonical 3D disc models with a high accuracy. Numerical comparisons with two conventional IEMs demonstrate that the hybrid method is more accurate and efficient for high-conductivity contrast media.

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