Numerical method for hydrodynamic modulation equations describing Bloch oscillations in semiconductor superlattices Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2012

start page

  • 4499

end page

  • 4514


  • 13


  • 231

international standard serial number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9991

electronic international standard serial number (EISSN)

  • 1090-2716


  • We present a finite difference method to solve a new type of nonlocal hydrodynamic equations that arise in the theory of spatially inhomogeneous Bloch oscillations in semiconductor superlattices. The hydrodynamic equations describe the evolution of the electron density, electric field and the complex amplitude of the Bloch oscillations for the electron current density and the mean energy density. These equations contain averages over the Bloch phase which are integrals of the unknown electric field and are derived by singular perturbation methods. Among the solutions of the hydrodynamic equations, at a 70 K lattice temperature, there are spatially inhomogeneous Bloch oscillations coexisting with moving electric field domains and Gunn-type oscillations of the current. At higher temperature (300 K) only Bloch oscillations remain. These novel solutions are found for restitution coefficients in a narrow interval below their critical values and disappear for larger values. We use an efficient numerical method based on an implicit second-order finite difference scheme for both the electric field equation (of drift-diffusion type) and the parabolic equation for the complex amplitude. Double integrals appearing in the nonlocal hydrodynamic equations are calculated by means of expansions in modified Bessel functions. We use numerical simulations to ascertain the convergence of the method. If the complex amplitude equation is solved using a first order scheme for restitution coefficients near their critical values, a spurious convection arises that annihilates the complex amplitude in the part of the superlattice that is closer to the cathode. This numerical artifact disappears if the space step is appropriately reduced or we use the second-order numerical scheme.


  • semiconductor superlattice; bloch oscillations; nonlocal hydrodynamic equations; spurious convection; self-sustained current oscillations