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16 September 2014

Luceda Photonics receives growth finance for development and marketing of PIC design framework

Fidimec (the investment arm of nanoelectronics research center imec of Leuven, Belgium, supporting the creation and growth of its spin-off companies) and the €20m fund SOFI I (a Spin-Off Financing Instrument that provides venture capital to new companies originating from the Flemish Strategic Research Centers) are investing €340,000 in Luceda Photonics of Dendermonde, Belgium. Luceda will use the new financing to start commercialization of its photonic integrated circuit design software and to continue to invest in R&D for new product features.

Luceda was founded in June as a joint spin-off from Ghent University (UGent), the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and imec, combining experience in photonic integrated circuit (PIC) design including expertise in the development of process design kits (PDKs). The core of the firm’s product offering is the IPKISS design framework. Launched in 2012 as an open-source software platform for the integrated photonics design community, IPKISS covers the complete photonic IC design flow from component design and simulation through circuit definition and layout, all the way to tape-out and testing. Its component library builds on years of design experience gathered over more than 300 validated designs. The IPKISS environment also includes CAPHE (a circuit simulation tool for complex optical circuits) and B-CALM (a GPU accelerated FDTD simulator).

The IPKISS framework was originally developed by UGent’s Photonics Research Group (which has a research staff of about 70, active in photonic integration on silicon IC platforms and applications in information & communication technology, sensing and life sciences) together with imec’s associated lab at UGent. The B-CALM software was developed by the VUB’s Brussels Photonics Team (B-PHOT), which is active in micro-miniaturized photonics. With its micro-optical design platform, its wafer-scale polymer optics prototyping line and its large-scale micro-optical measurement centre in cleanroom conditions, B-PHOT is involved in optical modelling, optical characterization, low-cost rapid prototyping, and proof-of-concept demonstration of micro-optical modules and micro-photonic systems.

“We want photonic IC designers to enjoy the same first-time-right design experience as electronics IC designers,” says Luceda’s CEO Erwin De Baetselier. “IPKISS is a state of the art environment that makes the design flow for photonic ICs robust and will save our customers considerable design time,” he adds. “The open nature of the IPKISS toolset permits the seamless integration of various third-party or even in-house tools and measurement capabilities. The photonics designers will gain insight, repeatability and accuracy of their entire design process,” Baetselier continues.

“Photonic ICs are on their way to become a mainstream industrial reality in the datacom, telecom and sensor markets,” says professor Roel Baets, photonics professor at UGent and head of imec’s associated photonics lab at UGent. “Together, UGent’s Photonics Research Group and imec’s associated photonics lab at UGent have invested many years to develop a unique design framework for photonics ICs. It is the right time now to bring this to the market. We are convinced that Luceda Photonics will have a substantial and lasting impact in this emerging industry,” he adds.

“By adding B-CALM to its product portfolio, Luceda Photonics offers its customers the unique possibility to efficiently design coupling structures to sub-wavelength plasmonic opto-electronic components,” notes professor Hugo Thienpont, head of VUB’s B-PHOT team. “This puts Luceda Photonics in pole position for the design of ultra-high-speed photonic ICs as used in data-centers and supercomputers.”

See related items:

Imec offers fully integrated silicon photonics platform via ePIXfab MPW service

UGent and Imec release IPKISS open-source software platform to integrated photonics design community  

Tags: Silicon photonics PICs

Visit: www.lucedaphotonics.com

Visit: www.ipkiss.org

Visit: www.imec.be

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