Photonic compiler automates integrated photonic layout design

September 14, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Mentor's LightSuite Photonic Compiler is claimed to be the industry’s first integrated photonic automated layout system, enabling companies designing integrated photonic layouts to describe designs in the Python language, from which the tool then automatically generates designs ready for fabrication.

­­The resulting design is “Correct by Calibre” – with the implementation precisely guided by Mentor’s Calibre RealTime Custom verification tool. The tool enables designers to generate as well as update large photonic layouts in minutes versus weeks, says Mentor.

With this breakthrough technology, companies can dramatically speed the development of integrated photonic designs that will bring speed-of-light communications directly into high-speed networking and high-performance computing (HPC) systems. It also speeds the development of more cost-effective LiDAR technology, which is seen as essential to enabling the mass deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Until now, photonic designers have been forced to use analog, full-custom IC tools to create photonic designs. In this flow, designers manually place components from a process design kit (PDK) and then interconnect those components manually. Photonic components must be interconnected with curved waveguides. After they have manually placed and interconnected the components, they typically perform a full Calibre physical verification run to check for design rule violations, as Calibre DRC can find violations even in photonic designs.

The LightSuite Photonic Compiler offers engineers complete control of their layouts so they can use the tool to automatically perform the placement and interconnecting of both photonic and electrical components. Designers create a Python script that is used to drive the LightSuite Photonic Compiler. Initial placement can also be defined in Python, or come from a pre-placed OpenAccess design. Next, the tool interconnects photonics components with curved wave guides. As some of the components might contain built-in electrical elements, the tool will route these electrical connections simultaneously along with the curved waveguides.

Mentor Graphics - www.mentor.com


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