To understand the fundamental ideas behind Lucene, you should first get familiar with InformationRetrieval. This page tries to collect links to resources that explain some advanced topics.
Postings list encoding
In addition to VInt encoding, Lucene supports (or plans to support) other postings list encoding formats (FOR-delta, PFOR-delta, Simple9, ...).
Performance of Compressed Inverted List Caching in Search Engines. Jiangong Zhang, Xiaohui Long, Torsten Suel. (2008)
Lucene performance with the PForDelta codec. Mike McCandless, Changing bits, August 2nd, 2010.
The Pulsing codec
An optimized codec for fields that have lots of rare terms.
Optimizations for Dynamic Inverted Index maintenance. Doug Cutting, Jan Pedersen.
Lucene's PulsingCodec on "Primary Key" Fields. Mike McCandless, Changing bits, June 5th, 2010.
Improved concurrency of index updates.
Lucene indexing gains concurrency. Simon Willnauer, SearchWorkings blog (May 3rd, 2011),
Exploiting full IO and CPU concurrency when indexing with Apache Lucene. Simon Willnauer, SearchWorkings blog (April 1st, 2011).
In addition to its binary-search based terms dictionary, Lucene has a "block tree" terms dictionary, inspired of burst tries.
Automata invasion Robert Muir, Michael McCandless,
Burst Tries: A Fast, Efficient Data Structure for String Keys. Steffen Heinz , Justin Zobel , Hugh E. Williams. (2002)
Lucene has an optimized range query implementation for numeric types:
Generic XML-based Framework for Metadata Portals. Computers & Geosciences 34 (12), 1947-1955. Schindler, U, Diepenbroek, M (2008).
Automaton-based fuzzy query
Lucene 4.0 supports an improved fuzzy query implementation that is based on Levenshtein automata.
Fast String Correction with Levenshtein-Automata. Klaus Schulz , Stoyan Mihov. (2002)
Lucene's FuzzyQuery is 100 times faster in 4.0. Mike McCandless, Changing bits, March 24th, 2011.
In addition to its default TF-IDF scoring algorithm, Lucene supports other scoring models such as Okapi BM25 and models based on language models.
New index statistics in Lucene 4.0. Mike McCandless, Changing bits, March 14th, 2012,
Okapi at TREC-3. Stephen E. Robertson, Steve Walker, Susan Jones, Micheline Hancock-Beaulieu, and Mike Gatford, In Proceedings of the Third Text REtrieval Conference (TREC 1994),
Probabilistic models of information retrieval based on measuring the divergence from randomness, Gianni Amati and Cornelis Joost Van Rijsbergen (2002).
Lucene uses FSTs a lot, so their in-memory size is important.
Smaller Representation of Finite State Automata. Jan Daciuk, Dawid Weiss.
Modifications that Twitter made to Lucene to support lock-free updates and efficient early query termination for time-based relevance.