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Title: Computational aspects of spectral invariants
Author: Bironneau, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 3577
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2014
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The spectral theory of the Laplace operator has long been studied in connection with physics. It appears in the wave equation, the heat equation, Schroedinger's equation and in the expression of quantum effects such as the Casimir force. The Casimir effect can be studied in terms of spectral invariants computed entirely from the spectrum of the Laplace operator. It is these spectral invariants and their computation that are the object of study in the present work. The objective of this thesis is to present a computational framework for the spectral zeta function $\zeta(s)$ and its derivative on a Euclidean domain in $\mathbb{R}^2$, with rigorous theoretical error bounds when this domain is polygonal. To obtain error bounds that remain practical in applications an improvement to existing heat trace estimates is necessary. Our main result is an original estimate and proof of a heat trace estimate for polygons that improves the one of van den Berg and Srisatkunarajah, using finite propagation speed of the corresponding wave kernel. We then use this heat trace estimate to obtain a rigorous error bound for $\zeta(s)$ computations. We will provide numerous examples of our computational framework being used to calculate $\zeta(s)$ for a variety of situations involving a polygonal domain, including examples involving cutouts and extrusions that are interesting in applications. Our second result is the development a new eigenvalue solver for a planar polygonal domain using a partition of unity decomposition technique. Its advantages include multiple precision and ease of use, as well as reduced complexity compared to Finite Elemement Method. While we hoped that it would be able to contend with existing packages in terms of speed, our implementation was many times slower than MPSPack when dealing with the same problem (obtaining the first 5 digits of the principal eigenvalue of the regular unit hexagon). Finally, we present a collection of numerical examples where we compute the spectral determinant and Casimir energy of various polygonal domains. We also use our numerical tools to investigate extremal properties of these spectral invariants. For example, we consider a square with a small square cut out of the interior, which is allowed to rotate freely about its center.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Casimir energi ; Spectral determinant ; Spectral theory ; Laplacian ; Heat equation