COMPUTER PHYSICS COMMUNICATIONS, vol.182, no.12, pp.2638-2654, 2011 (SCI-Expanded)
A MATLAB-based one-way and two-way split-step parabolic equation software tool (PETOOL) has been developed with a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) for the analysis and visualization of radio-wave propagation over variable terrain and through homogeneous and inhomogeneous atmosphere. The tool has a unique feature over existing one-way parabolic equation (PE)-based codes, because it utilizes the two-way split-step parabolic equation (SSPE) approach with wide-angle propagator, which is a recursive forward-backward algorithm to incorporate both forward and backward waves into the solution in the presence of variable terrain. First, the formulation of the classical one-way SSPE and the relatively-novel two-way SSPE is presented, with particular emphasis on their capabilities and the limitations. Next, the structure and the GUI capabilities of the PETOOL software tool are discussed in detail. The calibration of PETOOL is performed and demonstrated via analytical comparisons and/or representative canonical tests performed against the Geometric Optic (GO) + Uniform Theory of Diffraction (UTD). The tool can be used for research and/or educational purposes to investigate the effects of a variety of user-defined terrain and range-dependent refractivity profiles in electromagnetic wave propagation.