Condition number estimates for combined potential integral operators in acoustics and their boundary element discretisation

T Betcke, S N Chandler-Wilde, Ivan G Graham, S Langdon, M Lindner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (SciVal)


We consider the classical coupled combined field integral equation formulations for time-harmonic acoustic scattering by a sound soft bounded obstacle In recent work we have proved lower and upper bounds on the L-2 condition numbers for these formulations and also on the norms of the classical acoustic single- and double-layer potential operators These bounds to some extent make explicit the dependence of condition numbers on the wave number k, the geometry of the scatterer and the coupling parameter For example with the usual choice of coupling parameter they show that while the condition number grows like k(1/3) as k -> infinity when the scatterer is a circle or sphere, It can grow as fast as k(7/5) for a class of trapping obstacles In this article, we prove further bounds, sharpening and extending our previous results In particular, we show that there exist trapping obstacles for which the condition numbers grow as fast as exp(gamma k) for some gamma > 0 as k -> infinity through some sequence This result depends on exponential localization bounds on Laplace eigenfunctions in an ellipse that we prove in the appendix We also clarify the correct choice of coupling parameter in 2D for low k In the second part of the article, we focus on the boundary element discretisation of these operators We discuss the extent to which the bounds on the continuous operators are also satisfied by their discrete counterparts and via numerical experiments we provide supporting evidence for some of the theoretical results, both quantitative and asymptotic, indicating further which of the upper and lower bounds may be sharper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-69
Number of pages39
JournalNumerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Conference on Mathematics of Finite Elements and Applications, 9-12 June 2009, London.


  • high oscillation
  • boundary element method
  • Helmholtz equation


Dive into the research topics of 'Condition number estimates for combined potential integral operators in acoustics and their boundary element discretisation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this