Can photonic heterostructures provably outperform single-material geometries?

Alessio Amaolo, Pengning Chao, Thomas J. Maldonado, Sean Molesky, Alejandro W. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent advances in photonic optimization have enabled calculation of performance bounds for a wide range of electromagnetic objectives, albeit restricted to single-material systems. Motivated by growing theoretical interest and fabrication advances, we present a framework to bound the performance of photonic heterostructures and apply it to investigate maximum absorption characteristics of multilayer films and compact, free-form multi-material scatterers. Limits predict trends seen in topology-optimized geometries - often coming within factors of two of specific designs - and may be utilized in conjunction with inverse designs to predict when heterostructures are expected to outperform their optimal single-material counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • heterostructure
  • inverse design
  • photonic bounds


Dive into the research topics of 'Can photonic heterostructures provably outperform single-material geometries?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this