Maximizing opto‐mechanical interaction using topology optimization

Allan Roulund Gersborg, Ole Sigmund

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper studies topology optimization of a coupled opto‐mechanical problem with the goal of finding the material layout which maximizes the optical modulation, i.e. the difference between the optical response for the mechanically deformed and undeformed configuration. The optimization is performed on a periodic cell and the periodic modeling of the optical and mechanical fields have been carried out using transverse electric Bloch waves and homogenization theory in a plane stress setting, respectively. Two coupling effects are included being the photoelastic effect and the geometric effect caused by the mechanical deformation. For the studied objective and material choice it is concluded that the photoelastic effect and the geometric effect counteract each other, which yields designs which are fundamentally different if the optimization takes only one effect into account. When both effects are active a compromise is found; however, a strong regularization is needed in order to achieve reasonable 0–1 designs with a clear physical interpretation. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)822-843
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Photoelastic effect
  • Coupled problem
  • Topology optimization
  • TE-modes
  • Plane stress

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