Discontinuous Galerkin Approximations for Computing Electromagnetic Bloch Modes in Photonic Crystals

Zhongjie Lu, A. Cesmelioglu, Jacobus J.W. van der Vegt, Yan Xu

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    We analyze discontinuous Galerkin finite element discretizations of the Maxwell equations with periodic coefficients. These equations are used to model the behavior of light in photonic crystals, which are materials containing a spatially periodic variation of the refractive index commensurate with the wavelength of light. Depending on the geometry, material properties and lattice structure these materials exhibit a photonic band gap in which light of certain frequencies is completely prohibited inside the photonic crystal. By Bloch/Floquet theory, this problem is equivalent to a modified Maxwell eigenvalue problem with periodic boundary conditions, which is discretized with a mixed discontinuous Galerkin (DG) formulation using modified Nédélec basis functions. We also investigate an alternative primal DG interior penalty formulation and compare this method with the mixed DG formulation. To guarantee the non-pollution of the numerical spectrum, we prove a discrete compactness property for the corresponding DG space. The convergence rate of the numerical eigenvalues is twice the minimum of the order of the polynomial basis functions and the regularity of the solution of the Maxwell equations.We present both 2D and 3D numerical examples to verify the convergence rate of the mixed DG method and demonstrate its application to computing the band structure of photonic crystals.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)922-964
    Number of pages43
    JournalJournal of scientific computing
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


    • Discrete compactness property
    • Maxwell equations
    • Eigenvalue problems
    • Discontinuous Galerkin methods
    • Band structure
    • Mixed finite element methods
    • Photonic crystals
    • 22/4 OA procedure


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