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An algorithm is presented to implement perfectly matched layers (PMLs) for the time-domain finite-element (TDFE) simulation of two-dimensional open-region electromagnetic scattering and radiation problems. The proposed algorithm is based on the TDFE solution of a special vector wave equation similar to the one in an anisotropic and dispersive medium. The impact of the PML on the stability of the resultant TDFE solution is studied for a variety of temporal discretization schemes, and it is shown that the proposed algorithm for implementing PML can support unconditionally stable TDFE schemes. Both the total- and the scattered-field formulations are described, and numerical simulations of radiation and scattering problems are presented to validate the proposed PML algorithm for the mesh truncation of the TDFE solution.