Effective light dynamics in perturbed photonic crystals

Giuseppe De Nittis, Max Lein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we rigorously derive effective dynamics for light from within a limited frequency range propagating in a photonic crystal that is modulated on the macroscopic level; the perturbation parameter λ ≪ 1 quantifies the separation of spatial scales. We do that by rewriting the dynamical Maxwell equations as a Schrödinger-type equation and adapting space-adiabatic perturbation theory. Just like in the case of the Bloch electron, we obtain a simpler, effective Maxwell operator for states from within a relevant almost invariant subspace. A correct physical interpretation for the effective dynamics requires establishing two additional facts about the almost invariant subspace: (1) The source-free condition has to be verified and (2) it has to support real states. The second point also forces one to consider a multiband problem even in the simplest possible setting; This turns out to be a major difficulty for the extension of semiclassical methods to the domain of photonic crystals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-260
Number of pages40
JournalCommunications in Mathematical Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics


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