SPIREs: A finite-difference frequency-domain electromagnetic solver for inhomogeneous magnetized plasma cylinders

D. Melazzi, D. Curreli, M. Manente, J. Carlsson, D. Pavarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present SPIREs (plaSma Padova Inhomogeneous Radial Electromagnetic solver), a Finite-Difference Frequency-Domain (FDFD) electromagnetic solver in one dimension for the rapid calculation of the electromagnetic fields and the deposited power of a large variety of cylindrical plasma problems. The two Maxwell wave equations have been discretized using a staggered Yee mesh along the radial direction of the cylinder, and Fourier transformed along the other two dimensions and in time. By means of this kind of discretization, we have found that mode-coupling of fast and slow branches can be fully resolved without singularity issues that flawed other well-established methods in the past. Fields are forced by an antenna placed at a given distance from the plasma. The plasma can be inhomogeneous, finite-temperature, collisional, magnetized and multi-species. Finite-temperature Maxwellian effects, comprising Landau and cyclotron damping, have been included by means of the plasma Z dispersion function. Finite Larmor radius effects have been neglected. Radial variations of the plasma parameters are taken into account, thus extending the range of applications to a large variety of inhomogeneous plasma systems. The method proved to be fast and reliable, with accuracy depending on the spatial grid size. Two physical examples are reported: fields in a forced vacuum waveguide with the antenna inside, and forced plasma oscillations in the helicon radiofrequency range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1191
Number of pages10
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromagnetic solver
  • Finite difference
  • Frequency domain
  • Helicon
  • Landau damping
  • Power deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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