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SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics


When finding the nonzero eigenvalues for Hamiltonian eigenvalue problems it is especially important to locate not only the unstable eigenvalues (i.e., those with positive real part) but also those which are purely imaginary but have negative Krein signature. These latter eigenvalues have the property that they can become unstable upon collision with other purely imaginary eigenvalues; i.e., they are a necessary building block in the mechanism leading to the so-called Hamiltonian-Hopf bifurcation. In this paper we review a general theory for constructing a meromorphic matrix-valued function, the so-called Krein matrix, which has the property of not only locating the unstable eigenvalues but also those with negative Krein signature. These eigenvalues are realized as zeros of the determinant. The resulting finite-dimensional problem obtained by setting the determinant of the Krein matrix to zero presents a valuable simplification. In this paper the usefulness of the technique is illustrated through prototypical examples of spectral analysis of states that have arisen in recent experimental and theoretical studies of atomic Bose-Einstein condensates. In particular, we consider one-dimensional settings (the cigar trap) possessing real-valued multi-dark-soliton solutions and two-dimensional settings (the pancake trap) admitting complex multivortex stationary waveforms.

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