Diffractons: Solitary Waves Created by Diffraction in Periodic Media

David I. Ketcheson, Manuel Quezada de Luna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new class of solitary waves arises in the solution of nonlinear wave equations with constant impedance and no dispersive terms. These solitary waves depend on a balance between nonlinearity and a dispersion-like effect due to spatial variation in the sound speed of the medium. A high-order homogenized model confirms this effective dispersive behavior, and its solutions agree well with those obtained by direct simulation of the variable-coefficient system. These waves are observed to be long-time stable, globally attracting solutions that arise in general as solutions to nonlinear wave problems with periodically varying sound speed. They share some properties with known classes of solitary waves but possess important differences as well.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-458
Number of pages19
JournalMultiscale Modeling & Simulation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 31 2015


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