A hybrid transfer-matrix finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method is proposed for modeling the optical properties of finite-width planar periodic structures. This method can also be applied for calculation of the photonic bands in infinite photonic crystals. We describe the procedure of evaluating the transfer-matrix elements by a special numerical FDTD simulation. The accuracy of the new method is tested by comparing computed transmission spectra of a 32-layered photonic crystal composed of spherical or ellipsoidal scatterers with the results of direct FDTD and layer-multiple-scattering calculations.
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