In this paper, a merged characteristic basis function method (MCBFM) is proposed to analyze the electromagnetic scattering characteristics from conducting targets. A merged characteristic basis function (M-CBF) is newly defined in the MCBFM. Considering the mutual interaction of surrounding blocks, the M-CBF is generated by merging the conventional secondary characteristic basis functions (SCBFs) and the high order characteristic basis functions (HO-CBFs) of each block in the conventional primary characteristic basis function (PCBF). Thus, the true current distribution of the targets is approached by using a single M-CBF reducing the number of CBFs when the incident plane waves (PWs) are certain. The numerical results of a PEC hexahedron demonstrate that the proposed MCBFM improves the accuracy without increasing the number of PWs and the CBFs compared to the improved primary CBFM (IP-CBFM). The results also demonstrate that the MCBFM is capable of effectively reducing the CPU time by 63.38% without losing any accuracy compared to the conventional characteristic basis function method (CBFM). Other results of a PEC cylinder demonstrate that when a considerable computational accuracy is required, the efficiency of the proposed MCBFM is the highest among these three methods.
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