An implicit characteristic-based approach for numerical solution of Maxwell's time-dependent curl equations in flux conservative form is introduced. This method combines a characteristic based finite difference spatial approximation with an implicit lower-upper approximate factorization (LU/AF) time integration scheme. This approach is advantageous for three-dimensional applications because the characteristic differencing enables a two-factor approximate factorization that retains its unconditional stability in three space dimensions, and it does not require solution of tridiagonal systems. Results are given both for a Fourier analysis of stability, damping and dispersion properties, and for one-dimensional model problems involving propagation and scattering for free space and dielectric materials using both uniform and nonuniform grids. The explicit Finite Difference Time Domain Method (FDTD) algorithm is used as a convenient reference algorithm for comparison. The one-dimensional results indicate that for low frequency problems on a highly resolved uniform or nonuniform grid, this LU/AF algorithm can produce accurate solutions at Courant numbers significantly greater than one, with a corresponding improvement in efficiency for simulating a given period of time. This approach appears promising for development of dispersion optimized LU/AF schemes for three dimensional applications.
Langley Research Center; Marshall Space Flight Center