Robust second-order accurate discretizations of the multi-dimensional Heaviside and Dirac delta functions

Chohong Min, Frédéric Gibou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We present a robust second-order accurate method for discretizing the multi-dimensional Heaviside and the Dirac delta functions on irregular domains. The method is robust in the following ways: (1) integrations of source terms on a co-dimension one surface are independent of the underlying grid and therefore stable under perturbations of the domain's boundary; (2) the method depends only on the function value of a level function, not on its derivatives. We present the discretizations in tabulated form to make their implementations straightforward. We present numerical results in two and three spatial dimensions to demonstrate the second-order accuracy in the L1-norm in the case of the solution of PDEs with singular source terms. In the case of evaluating the contribution of singular source terms on interfaces, the method is also second-order accurate in the L-norm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9686-9695
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research of C. Min was supported in part by the Kyung Hee University Research Fund (KHU-20070608) in 2007. The research of F. Gibou was supported in part by a Sloan Research Fellowship in Mathematics, by NSF under Grant agreement DMS 0713858 and by the DOE Office of Science under Grant No. DE-FG02-08ER15991.


  • Dirac delta function
  • Heaviside function
  • Level set methods
  • Singular source term


Dive into the research topics of 'Robust second-order accurate discretizations of the multi-dimensional Heaviside and Dirac delta functions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this