3.5. kwant.solvers
– Library of solvers#
Overview#
Kwant offers several modules for computing the solutions to quantum transport
problems, the socalled solvers. Each of these solvers may use different
internal algorithms and/or depend on different external libraries. If the
libraries needed by one solver are not installed, trying to import it will raise
an ImportError
exception. The Installation instructions list all the libraries that are required or can be used by
Kwant and its solvers.
kwant.solvers.default
– The default solver#
There is one solver, kwant.solvers.default
that is always available. For
each Kwant installation it combines the best functionality of the available
solvers into a single module. We recommend to use it unless there are specific
reasons to use another. The following functions are provided.

Compute the scattering matrix of a system. 

Compute the retarded Green's function of the system between its leads. 

Return a callable object for the computation of the wave function inside the scattering region. 

Calculate the local density of states of a system at a given energy. 
smatrix
returns an object of the following type:

A scattering matrix. 
The analog of smatrix
, greens_function
accordingly returns:

Retarded Green's function. 
Being just a thin wrapper around other solvers, the default solver selectively
imports their functionality. To find out the origin of any function in this
module, use Python’s help
. For example
>>> help(kwant.solvers.default.ldos)
Other solver modules#
Unlike the default one, other solvers have to be imported manually. They provide, whenever possible, exactly the same interface as the default. Some allow for specific tuning that can improve performance. The differences to the default solver are listed in the documentation of each module.
For Kwant experts: detail of the internal structure of a solver#
Each solver module (except the default one) contains a class Solver
(e.g.
kwant.solvers.sparse.Solver
), that actually implements that solver’s
functionality. For each modulelevel function provided by the solver, there is
a correspondent method in the Solver
class. The modulelevel functions are
simply the methods of a hidden Solver
instance that is present in each
solver module.
The encapsulation in a class allows different solvers to easily share common
code. It also makes it possible to use solvers with different options
concurrently. Typically, one does not need this flexibility, and will not want
to bother with the Solver
class itself. Instead, one will use the
modulelevel functions as explained in the previous sections.