Prof. Dr. Volker Mehrmann
Technische Universität Berlin
Photonic crystals are periodic materials that affect the propagation of electromagnetic waves. They occur in nature (e.g. on butterfly wings), but they can also be manufactured. They possess certain properties affecting the propagation of electromagnetic waves in the visible spectrum, hence the name photonic crystals. The most interesting (and useful) property of such periodic structures is that for certain geometric and material configurations they have the so-called bandgaps, i.e., intervals of wavelengths that cannot propagate in the periodic structure. Therefore, finding materials and geometries with wide bandgaps is an active research area.
Mathematically, finding such bandgaps for different configurations of materials and geometries can be modelled as a PDE eigenvalue problem with the frequency (or wavelength) of the electromagnetic field as the eigenvalue. These eigenvalue problems depend on various parameters describing the material of the structure and typically involve nonlinear functions of the searched frequency. The configuration of the periodic geometry may also be modified and can be considered a parameter. Finally, through the mathematical treatment of the PDE eigenvalue problem another parameter, the quasimomentum, is introduced in order to reduce the problem from an infinite domain to a family of problems, parametrised by the quasimomentum, on a finite domain. These are more accurately solvable.
In order to solve the problem of finding a material and geometric structure with an especially wide bandgap, one needs to solve many nonlinear eigenvalue problems during each step of the optimization process. Therefore, the main goal of this project is to find efficient nonlinear eigensolvers. It is well-known that an efficient way of discretizing PDE eigenvalue problems on geometrically complicated domains is an adaptive Finite Element method (AFEM). To investigate the performance of AFEM for the described problems reliable and efficient error estimators for nonlinear parameter dependent eigenvalue problems are needed.
Solving the finite dimensional nonlinear problem resulting from the AFEM discretization in general cannot be done directly, as the systems are usually large, and thus produce another error to be considered in the error analysis. Another goal in this research project is therefore to equilibrate the errors and computational work between the discretization and approximation errors of the AFEM and the errors in the solution of the resulting finite dimensional nonlinear eigenvalue problems.