The paper is devoted to the investigation of directional derivatives and the cone of decrease directions for convex operators on Banach spaces. We prove a condition for the existence of directional derivatives which does not assume regularity of the ordering cone K. This result is then used to prove that for continuous convex operators the cone of decrease directions can be represented in terms of the directional derivatices . Decrease directions are those for which the directional derivative lies in the negative interior of the ordering cone K. Finally, we show that the continuity of the convex operator can be replaced by its K-boundedness.

We consider optimal design problems for semiconductor devices which are simulated using the energy transport model. We develop a descent algorithm based on the adjoint calculus and present numerical results for a ballistic diode. Further, we compare the optimal doping profile with results computed on basis of the drift diffusion model. Finally, we exploit the model hierarchy and test the space mapping approach, especially the aggressive space mapping algorithm, for the design problem. This yields a significant reduction of numerical costs and programming effort.