Contamination of the accuracy of the combined-field integral equation with the discretization error of the magnetic-field integral equation
We investigate the accuracy of the combined-field integral equation (CFIE) discretized with the Rao-Wilton-Glisson (RWG) basis functions for the solution of scattering and radiation problems involving three-dimensional conducting objects. Such a low-order discretization with the RWG functions renders the two components of CFIE, i.e., the electric-field integral equation (EFIE) and the magnetic-field integral equation (MFIE), incompatible, mainly because of the excessive discretization error of MFIE. Solutions obtained with CFIE are contaminated with the MFIE inaccuracy, and CFIE is also incompatible with EFIE and MFIE. We show that, in an iterative solution, the minimization of the residual error for CFIE involves a breakpoint, where a further reduction of the residual error does not improve the solution in terms of compatibility with EFIE, which provides a more accurate reference solution. This breakpoint corresponds to the last useful iteration, where the accuracy of CFIE is saturated and a further reduction of the residual error is practically unnecessary.