This paper reports on two important issues that arise in the context of the global optimization of photonic components where large problem spaces must be investigated. The first is the implementation of a fast simulation method and associated matrix solver for assessing particular designs and the second, the strategies that a designer can adopt to control the size of the problem design space to reduce runtimes without compromising the convergence of the global optimization tool. For this study an analytical simulation method based on Mie scattering and a fast matrix solver exploiting the fast multipole method are combined with genetic algorithms (GAs). The impact of the approximations of the simulation method on the accuracy and runtime of individual design assessments and the consequent effects on the GA are also examined. An investigation of optimization strategies for controlling the design space size is conducted on two illustrative examples, namely, 60° and 90° waveguide bends based on photonic microstructures, and their effectiveness is analyzed in terms of a GA’s ability to converge to the best solution within an acceptable timeframe. Finally, the paper describes some particular optimized solutions found in the course of this work.
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