Computational Lower Bounds For Photonic Design

G. Angeris, J. Vuckovic, and S. Boyd

ACS Photonics, 6(5):1232–39, 2019.

Physical design problems, such as photonic inverse design, are typically solved using local optimization methods. These methods often produce what appear to be good or very good designs, when compared to classical design methods, but it is not known how far from optimal such designs really are. We address this issue by developing methods for computing a bound on the true optimal value of a physical design problem; physical designs with objective smaller than our bound are impossible to achieve. Our bound is based on Lagrange duality, and exploits the special mathematical structure of these physical design problems. For a multi-mode 2D Helmholtz resonator, numerical examples show that the bounds we compute are often close to the objective values obtained using local optimization methods, which reveals that the designs are not only good, but in fact nearly optimal. Our computational bounding method also produces, as a by-product, a reasonable starting point for local optimization methods.