On Spectral Analysis and a Novel Algorithm for Transmission Eigenvalue Problems

Tiexiang Li, Wei Qiang Huang*, Wen-Wei Lin, Jijun Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The transmission eigenvalue problem, besides its critical role in inverse scattering problems, deserves special interest of its own due to the fact that the corresponding differential operator is neither elliptic nor self-adjoint. In this paper, we provide a spectral analysis and propose a novel iterative algorithm for the computation of a few positive real eigenvalues and the corresponding eigenfunctions of the transmission eigenvalue problem. Based on approximation using continuous finite elements, we first derive an associated symmetric quadratic eigenvalue problem (QEP) for the transmission eigenvalue problem to eliminate the nonphysical zero eigenvalues while preserve all nonzero ones. In addition, the derived QEP enables us to consider more refined discretization to overcome the limitation on the number of degrees of freedom. We then transform the QEP to a parameterized symmetric definite generalized eigenvalue problem (GEP) and develop a secant-type iteration for solving the resulting GEPs. Moreover, we carry out spectral analysis for various existence intervals of desired positive real eigenvalues, since a few lowest positive real transmission eigenvalues are of practical interest in the estimation and the reconstruction of the index of refraction. Numerical experiments show that the proposed method can find those desired smallest positive real transmission eigenvalues accurately, efficiently, and robustly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-108
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Scientific Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Jul 2015


  • Quadratic eigenvalue problems
  • Secant-type iteration method
  • Spectral analysis
  • Symmetric positive definite
  • Transmission eigenvalues

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