Three-dimensional FDTD modeling of impulsive ELF propagation about the earth-sphere

Jamesina J. Simpson*, Allen Taflove

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


This paper reports the application of an efficient finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) algorithm to model impulsive extremely low frequency (ELF) propagation within the entire Earth-ionosphere cavity. Periodic boundary conditions are used in conjunction with a three-dimensional latitude-longitude FDTD space lattice which wraps around the complete Earth-sphere. Adaptive combination of adjacent grid cells in the east-west direction minimizes cell eccentricity upon approaching the poles and hence maintains Courant stability for relatively large time steps. This technique permits a direct, three-dimensional time-domain calculation of impulsive, round-the-world ELF propagation accounting for arbitrary horizontal as well as vertical geometrical and electrical inhomogeneities/anisotropies of the excitation, ionosphere, lithosphere, and oceans. The numerical model is verified by comparing its results for ELF propagation attenuation with corresponding data reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Earth
  • Extremely low frequency (ELF)
  • Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) methods
  • Propagation
  • Sphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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