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International Journal of Antennas and Propagation
Volume 2018, Article ID 3476462, 20 pages
Research Article

Finite-Difference Time Domain Techniques Applied to Electromagnetic Wave Interactions with Inhomogeneous Plasma Structures

1ElectroScience Laboratory, Ohio State University, Columbus OH 43212, USA
2Center for Telecommunications Studies, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 22451-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Julio L. Nicolini; moc.liamg@inilocinloiluj

Received 31 October 2017; Accepted 11 February 2018; Published 29 March 2018

Academic Editor: Xianming Qing

Copyright © 2018 Julio L. Nicolini and José Ricardo Bergmann. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Motivated by the emerging field of plasma antennas, electromagnetic wave propagation in and scattering by inhomogeneous plasma structures are studied through finite-difference time domain (FDTD) techniques. These techniques have been widely used in the past to study propagation near or through the ionosphere, and their extension to plasma devices such as antenna elements is a natural development. Simulation results in this work are validated with comparisons to solutions obtained by eigenfunction expansion techniques well supported by the literature and are shown to have an excellent agreement. The advantages of using FDTD simulations for this type of investigation are also outlined; in particular, FDTD simulations allow for field solutions to be developed at lower computational cost and greater resolution than equivalent eigenfunction methods for inhomogeneous plasmas and are applicable to arbitrary plasma properties such as spatially or time-varying inhomogeneities and collision frequencies, as well as allowing transient effects to be studied as the field solutions are obtained in the time domain.