Spectral theory of some non-selfadjoint linear differential operators

Beatrice Pelloni, D. A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We give a characterization of the spectral properties of linear differential operators with constant coefficients, acting on functions defined on a bounded interval, and determined by general linear boundary conditions. The boundary conditions may be such that the resulting operator is not selfadjoint. We associate the spectral properties of such an operator S with the properties of the solution of a corresponding boundary value problem for the partial differential equation ∂tq±iSq=0. Namely, we are able to establish an explicit correspondence between the properties of the family of eigenfunctions of the operator, and in particular, whether this family is a basis, and the existence and properties of the unique solution of the associated boundary value problem. When such a unique solution exists, we consider its representation as a complex contour integral that is obtained using a transform method recently proposed by Fokas and one of the authors. The analyticity properties of the integrand in this representation are crucial for studying the spectral theory of the associated operator.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20130019
Number of pages21
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2154
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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