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### Abstract

Given a phenomenon described by a self-similar fragmentation equation, how to infer the fragmentation kernel from experimental measurements of the solution? To answer this question at the basis of our work, a formal asymptotic expansion suggested us that using short-time observations and initial data close to a Dirac measure should be a well-adapted strategy. As a necessary preliminary step, we study the direct problem, i.e. we prove existence, uniqueness and stability with respect to the initial data of non negative measure-valued solutions when the initial data is a compactly supported, bounded, non negative measure. A representation of the solution as a power series in the space of Radon measures is also shown. This representation is used to propose a reconstruction formula for the fragmentation kernel, using short-time experimental measurements when the initial data is close to a Dirac measure. We prove error estimates in Total Variation and Bounded Lipshitz norms; this gives a quantitative meaning to what a “short” time observation is. For general initial data in the space of compactly supported measures, we provide estimates on how the short-time measurements approximate the convolution of the fragmentation kernel with a suitably-scaled version of the initial data. The series representation also yields a reconstruction formula for the Mellin transform of the fragmentation kernel $\kappa $ and an error estimate for such an approximation. Our analysis is complemented by a numerical investigation.

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