OPTICS LETTERS
Direct time integration of Maxwell's equations in linear dispersive media with absorption for scattering and propagation of femtosecond electromagnetic pulses
Rose M. Joseph, Susan C. Hagness, and Allen Taflove
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,McCormick School of Engineering,Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 602083118
Received May 29, 1991
We report the initial results for femtosecond pulse propagation and scattering interactions for a Lorentz medium obtained by a direct time integration of Maxwell's equations. The computational approach provides reflection coefficients accurate to better than 6 parts in 10,000 over the frequency range of dc to 3 X 1016 Hz for a single 0.2fs Gaussian pulse incident upon a Lorentzmedium halfspace. New results for Sommerfeld and Brillouin precursors are shown and compared with previous analyses. The present approach is robust and permits twodimensional and threedimensional electromagnetic pulse propagation directly from the fullvector Maxwell's equations.
A pulse propagating in a dispersive medium such as an optical fiber exhibits complicated behavior. It is of interest to have an accurate numerical model for this behavior as well as for other electromagnetic interactions with frequencydependent materials.
aH,_
at
1 aE,
0 ax
(la)
(lb)
aD, = aH,
The finitedifference
timedomain (FDTD)
at
ax
method is a numerical technique for direct time integration of Maxwell's equations.` 4 It is a computationally efficient approach to modeling sinusoidal or impulsive electromagnetic interactions with arbi
trary threedimensional structures consisting of linear, possibly anisotropic, lossy dielectric and permeable media with frequencyindependent
parameters. It has been used for predicting electromagnetic wave scattering, penetration, and radi
Here Dz = eE., where the permittivity s is independent of frequency. Using central differencing in time and space,' we can express the curl equations in finitedifference form as the following secondorder accurate leapfrog algorithm:
2y(i+
2) =
Hy,2(i + 2)
+
Ezn+l(i) = En4(i) +
At
AA
[Ezn(i + 1)
[HAt n(i

En(i)]
(2a)
5 problems.
Recently, the
A
range of FDTD modeling applications has been substantially expanded to include ultrahighspeed signal lines,6 subpicosecond electrooptic switches,7 and linear optical directional couplers.8 Attempts have been made to extend FDTD to frequencydependent materials. Chromatic dispersion can be expressed in the time domain as a convo
+ I)
H,,n+(i
2)
(2b)
lution integral involving the electric field and a causal susceptibility function. This convolution
integral can be efficiently incorporated into the FDTD algorithm for a firstorder (Debye) dispersion.9 In this Letter we present a more general approach that permits modeling of media having arbitrary
this equation is derived by taking the inverse Fourier transform of the complex permittivity
D:(c) )=
(3)
For an orderM dispersion, the computational model now becomes a threestep recursive process that re( 1991 Optical Society of America
1413
tains the fully explicit nature of the original dispersionless FDTD formulation,
y+2(i +
.)
= Hyf(i+
+
.)
This differential equation can be easily differenced to solve for Efn' in terms of known values of E, and Dz for insertion into Eq. (4c),
2At 2 + 28At En,+l = [((oo + 2)Dz+l
A[Ezn(i
4 At [Hn+2(j
+ 1) E
8n(i)],
(4a)
Dzn+l(i)=Dn(i) +
+ .)
Hn+2(2]
(4b)
(4c)
(11)
We first demonstrate the accuracy of this method by computing the wideband reflection coefficient for a planar interface between vacuum and a halfspace made of the Lorentz medium of Fig. 1. A single
0.2fs duration Gaussian pulse (between the l/e points) is normally incident upon the interface.
This pulse has a spectrum that covers the full range from dc to 3 x 1016Hz. Data are taken every time step (At = 2.0 x 1019s) at a fixed observation point on the vacuum side of the interface. The FDTD computed complexvalued reflection coefficient is
obtained by taking the ratio of the discrete Fourier transforms of the reflected and incident pulses.
Figure 2 compares the magnitude and phase of this
10.0
and
Xis
f(t) = f
f(co)exp(jiot) dw,
(6)
8.0 
,I
11
. 6.0 4.0

1I
II III

Real
Imaginary
D_ 8+
D8 for insertion E,,n~~i
=
dD=
T
dt
ZE ~+ I.. dt
dEt
(7)
0 2.0
6)
Q)
I'

I'
I
This differential equation can be easily differenced to solve for Ez,"' in terms of known values of E2 and
into Eq. (4c),
*S 0.0
Q)
CY 2.0 
2Ts()= + 88At
At2T
2TE. + 8sAt
(i
(8)
Fig. 1. Complex permittivity of the Lorentz medium with parameters E, = 2.25so, E8. = E0, wo = 4.0 x 1016 rad/s, and 8 = 0.28 x 10'6s'. 0.8
0.0
2j1o(a _ (o2
Dj(w) E8(c)
(9)
6)
4.0
0
A. . .
. . '1 . '2
rad/sec)
16
20
(units of 10
6)
cn
where 8, = E(0), 8. = E(), coois the resonant frequency, and 8 is the damping coefficient. Figure 1 shows the relative permittivity curve for a Lorentz medium that has the following parameters:
= 2.258o,
8.
0 0.6
a)
. _
, 0.4 0
Q)
 4 5.0 '
= 8o,
0o = 4.0 x 1016rad/s,
0, .2
Q)
._ 0
8 = 0.28 x 1016Si.
Inverse Fourier transformation of Eq. (9) results in the following secondorder differential equation relating D, and E,:
2D,
O 0.2
+ 2dD
+ d2D
E + 23EdEz
+ dd2 d2 E 8 dt 2

+ 8,.
0
6)
6),
0 0.0
6)
(10dt
Fig. 2. Comparison of FDTD and exact results from dc to 3 x 10'6Hz for the magnitude and phase of the reflec
(10)
1414
0.003
D
 0.001
LZ
Extensive numerical convergence studies of the FDTD results indicate that the zero crossings of the precursor converge quickly (at relatively coarse grid resolutions), while the envelope converges more
.o 0.003
0
Lb
_ 
Overall, we
) 0.005
1 .00
1.06
O=ct/x
1.12
1.18
1.24
transform'4 results for the Sommerfeld precursor observed at x = 1 u.Lm in the Lorentz medium of Fig. 1 for a unitstep modulated sinusoidal excitation (co, = 1.0 x
1016rad/s) at x = 0.
believe that the FDTD computed envelope distribution shown in Fig. 3 is within 3% of the limiting distribution obtained at infinitely fine grid resolution. For completeness, Fig. 4 shows the total signal at x = 10 gm in the Lorentz medium computed with the FDTD method. This includes the Brillouin precursor. These results are again somewhat dif
0.12
a)
0
The method of this Letter should be directly applicable to fullvector electromagnetic pulse propa
We
E .5_ LL 0.04
.0
6) Ld
Office of Naval Research contract N0001488K0475, NASAAmes University Consortium Joint Re1.50
0.04 4
i.4s
Q=ct/x
1.55
1.60
1.65
search Interchange no. NCA2562, and Cray Research, Inc. We thank K. E. Oughstun for
providing graphical results of his precursor analyses'3 ,14 and P. Goorjian of NASAAmes for suggesting the improved timestepping scheme of Eq. (11).
Fig. 4. FDTD results for the total signal (including the Brillouin precursor) at x = 10 jumin the Lorentz medium of Fig. 1 for the unitstep modulated sinusoidal excitation.
References
reflection coefficient as a function of frequency to the exact solution (Ref. 10, p. 282). The deviation from the exact solution over the complete range of dc to 3 x 1016Hz is less than 6 parts in 10,000. (This
1. K. S. Yee, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag. AP14, 302
(1966).
2. A. Taflove and M. E. Brodwin, IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory Tech. MTT23, 623 (1975).
dler, and M. Schneider, IEEE Trans. Electromagn. Compat. EC32, 222 (1990). 10. J. D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics, 2nd ed.
(Wiley, New York, 1975). 11. A. Sommerfeld, Ann. Phys. 44, 177 (1914).