The failure of perfectly matched layers, and towards their redemption by adiabatic absorbers

Opt Express. 2008 Jul 21;16(15):11376-92. doi: 10.1364/oe.16.011376.


Although perfectly matched layers (PMLs) have been widely used to truncate numerical simulations of electromagnetism and other wave equations, we point out important cases in which a PML fails to be reflectionless even in the limit of infinite resolution. In particular, the underlying coordinate-stretching idea behind PML breaks down in photonic crystals and in other structures where the material is not an analytic function in the direction perpendicular to the boundary, leading to substantial reflections. The alternative is an adiabatic absorber, in which reflections are made negligible by gradually increasing the material absorption at the boundaries, similar to a common strategy to combat discretization reflections in PMLs. We demonstrate the fundamental connection between such reflections and the smoothness of the absorption profile via coupled-mode theory, and show how to obtain higher-order and even exponential vanishing of the reflection with absorber thickness (although further work remains in optimizing the constant factor).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Computer Simulation
  • Computer-Aided Design*
  • Light
  • Manufactured Materials*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Refractometry / methods*
  • Scattering, Radiation