# A simple proof that the hp-FEM does not suffer from the pollution effect for the constant-coefficient full-space Helmholtz equation

In d dimensions, approximating an arbitrary function oscillating with frequency ≲ k requires ∼ k^d degrees of freedom. A numerical method for solving the Helmholtz equation (with wavenumber k) suffers from the pollution effect if, as k→∞, the total number of degrees of freedom needed to maintain accuracy grows faster than this natural threshold. While the h-version of the finite element method (FEM) (where accuracy is increased by decreasing the meshwidth h and keeping the polynomial degree p fixed) suffers from the pollution effect, the celebrated papers [Melenk, Sauter 2010], [Melenk, Sauter 2011], [Esterhazy, Melenk 2012], and [Melenk, Parsania, Sauter 2013] showed that the hp-FEM (where accuracy is increased by decreasing the meshwidth h and increasing the polynomial degree p) applied to a variety of constant-coefficient Helmholtz problems does not suffer from the pollution effect. The heart of the proofs of these results is a PDE result splitting the solution of the Helmholtz equation into "high" and "low" frequency components. In this expository paper we prove this splitting for the constant-coefficient Helmholtz equation in full space (i.e., in ℝ^d) using only integration by parts and elementary properties of the Fourier transform; this is in contrast to the proof for this set-up in [Melenk, Sauter 2010] which uses somewhat-involved bounds on Bessel and Hankel functions. The proof in this paper is motivated by the recent proof in [Lafontaine, Spence, Wunsch 2020] of this splitting for the variable-coefficient Helmholtz equation in full space; indeed, the proof in [Lafontaine, Spence, Wunsch 2020] uses more-sophisticated tools that reduce to the elementary ones above for constant coefficients.

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