Strong curvature effects in Neumann wave problems

Morten Willatzen, A. Pors, Jens Gravesen

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    Waveguide phenomena play a major role in basic sciences and engineering. The Helmholtz equation is the governing equation for the electric field in electromagnetic wave propagation and the acoustic pressure in the study of pressure dynamics. The Schro¨dinger equation simplifies to the Helmholtz equation for a quantum-mechanical particle confined by infinite barriers relevant in semiconductor physics. With this in mind and the interest to tailor waveguides towards a desired spectrum and modal pattern structure in classical structures and nanostructures, it becomes increasingly important to understand the influence of curvature effects in waveguides. In this work, we demonstrate analytically strong curvature effects for the eigenvalue spectrum of the Helmholtz equation with Neumann boundary conditions in cases where the waveguide cross section is a circular sector. It is found that the linear-in-curvature contribution originates from parity symmetry breaking of eigenstates in circular-sector tori and hence vanishes in a torus with a complete circular cross section. The same strong curvature effect is not present in waveguides subject to Dirichlet boundary conditions where curvature contributions contribute to second-order in the curvature only. We demonstrate this finding by considering wave propagation in a circular-sector torus corresponding to Neumann and Dirichlet boundary conditions, respectively. Results for relative eigenfrequency shifts and modes are determined and compared with three-dimensional finite element method results. Good agreement is found between the present analytical method using a combination of differential geometry with perturbation theory and finite element results for a large range of curvature ratios.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Mathematical Physics
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)083507
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright (2012) American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Journal of Mathematical Physics / Volume 53 / Issue 8 and may be found at


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