14 March 2018
TowerJazz announces first open foundry silicon photonics design kits with EDA tool support
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
Specialty foundry TowerJazz (which has fabrication plants at Tower Semiconductor Ltd in Migdal Haemek, Israel, and at its US subsidiaries Jazz Semiconductor Inc in Newport Beach, CA and TowerJazz Texas Inc in San Antonio, TX, and at TowerJazz Japan Ltd) has announced the first open silicon photonics (SiPho) manufacturing process (PH18MA) offered by a commercial foundry, with a design platform targeting optical networking and data-center interconnect applications.
TowerJazz says that its ‘open’ platform is offered to all silicon photonics customers, unlike other ‘closed’ processes only offered to certain customers or restricted to low-volume prototyping. The firm’s SiPho process complements its silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS processes, which are currently qualified in two of its worldwide fabrication facilities, providing manufacturing assurance and flexibility.
The overall silicon photonics market will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 20% to 2023, according to a MarketsandMarkets report. Silicon photonics holds the potential to become a cost-effective, scalable technology for the production of electro-optical integrated circuits and transceivers for data centers and high-performance computing, telecoms, military, defense and aerospace applications, it is reckoned. TowerJazz says that its SiPho process addresses the high-performance requirements of these applications, such as reduction in power consumption, high bandwidth and high data transfer capabilities.
TowerJazz and silicon photonics electronic design automation (EDA) software providers Cadence, Synopsys and Lumerical have collaborated to develop design enablement for this platform. TowerJazz’s electronic photonic design automation (EPDA) process design kit (PDK) provides an integrated design environment through the Cadence Virtuoso platform, enabling fast time to market. TowerJazz says that it brings specialty foundry experience and decades of electronic design enablement, while Cadence provides photonic schematic capture, layout and circuit simulation, Synopsys supplies the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) layout synthesis capability, and Lumerical is the industry leader in photonic simulation.
“Closely coupled to TowerJazz’s SiPho process, the widely adopted Cadence Virtuoso custom IC design platform gives customers familiar tools to more easily develop and implement integrated photonics systems,” says Glen Clark, corporate VP, R&D, Custom IC & PCB Group at Cadence. “Designers now have access to a bi-directional, integrated design flow spanning from co-simulation with Lumerical to layout generation that is built around a golden electro-optical schematic in the advanced Virtuoso platform,” he adds. “With the Virtuoso platform’s integration into our packaging and system analysis tools, customers can now access an entire silicon design and analysis environment for electronic and photonic design, enabling more predictable design cycles.”
The PDK includes several flavors of components needed for silicon photonics design such as single-mode silicon waveguides, high-speed germanium photodetectors, p-n junction modulators, and enablement for edge and grating couplers.
To ensure robust design manufacturability, Synopsys’ PhoeniX Software OptoDesigner uses photonic synthesis to map design intent into a design-rule clean circuit layout targeted to the TowerJazz SiPho process. “Designers can use our integrated photonic simulators to optimize their designs and layout to meet their performance requirements and minimize time from concept to tape-out,” says Niek Nijenhuis, global business development manager of PhoeniX Software tools at Synopsys.
“We have worked closely with TowerJazz’s industry leading PH18MA process and device experts to provide customers with unmatched simulation capability using Lumerical’s photonic integrated circuit simulator INTERCONNECT,” says Lumerical’s chief technical officer Dr James Pond. “In addition to standalone PIC simulation, the compact model library (CML) we developed for TowerJazz enables the industry’s most advanced co-simulation framework for electrical/optical circuits using INTERCONNECT and Spectre AMS Designer, all driven from within the Virtuoso platform,” he adds.
A demo of the TowerJazz SiPho design enablement platform is taking place in both the TowerJazz and Cadence exhibit booths #1717 and #1607, respectively, at the Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition (OFC 2018) in San Diego (13-15 March).