High order numerical simulation of the transmission and scattering of waves using the method of difference potentials

M. Medvinsky, S. Tsynkov*, E. Turkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The method of difference potentials generalizes the method of Calderon's operators from PDEs to arbitrary difference equations and systems. It offers several key advantages, such as the capability of handling boundaries/interfaces that are not aligned with the discretization grid, variable coefficients, and nonstandard boundary conditions. In doing so, the complexity of the algorithm remains comparable to that of an ordinary finite difference scheme on a regular structured grid.Previously, we have applied the method of difference potentials to solving several variable coefficient interior Helmholtz problems with fourth and sixth order accuracy. We have employed compact finite difference schemes as a core discretization methodology. Those schemes enable high order accuracy on narrow stencils and hence require only as many boundary conditions as needed for the underlying differential equation itself. Numerical experiments corroborate the high order accuracy of our method for variable coefficients, regular grids, and non-conforming boundaries.In the current paper, we extend the previously developed methodology to exterior problems. We present a complete theoretical analysis of the algorithm, as well as the results of a series of numerical simulations. Specifically, we study the scattering of time-harmonic waves about smooth shapes, subject to various boundary conditions. We also solve the transmission/scattering problems, in which not only do the waves scatter off a given shape but also propagate through the interface and travel across the heterogeneous medium inside. In all the cases, our methodology guarantees high order accuracy for regular grids and non-conforming boundaries and interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-322
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2013


  • Artificial boundary conditions
  • Boundary projections
  • Calderon's operators
  • Compact differencing
  • Curvilinear boundaries
  • Difference potentials
  • Exterior problems
  • High order accuracy
  • Non-conforming boundaries/interfaces
  • Regular grids
  • Variable coefficients


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