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26 September 2018

Lumerical and Mentor co-develop PDK for TowerJazz’s silicon photonics foundry process

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Photonic simulation software provider Lumerical Inc of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has made available a process design kit (PDK) developed in collaboration with electronic design automation (EDA) software provider Mentor (a Siemens business). The PDK gives designer access to the first open silicon photonics (SiPho) manufacturing process offered by a commercial foundry through an integrated flow that enables significantly higher productivity.

Targeting optical networking and data-center interconnect applications, the SiPho PH18MA process is an ‘open’ platform offered by specialty foundry TowerJazz to all SiPho customers, unlike other ‘closed’ processes only offered to certain customers or restricted to low-volume prototyping. TowerJazz’s SiPho process complements its silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS processes, which are used to build the electronic components of 100-400Gb optical fiber communication systems.

The SiPho market is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 20% to 2023, according to a MarketsandMarkets report. SiPho has 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. TowerJazz’s SiPho process addresses the high-performance requirements of these applications, such as a reduction in power consumption, high bandwidth and high data transfer capabilities.

The collaboration between foundry, EDA and photonic simulation firms provides photonic designers with a high-productivity path to silicon at a proven commercial specialty foundry, say the firms. The integrated flow developed by Lumerical and Mentor enables photonic designers to combine photonic simulation and EDA tools. The flow improves photonic circuit and system designers’ productivity by providing a layout-driven flow featuring Python-driven layout generation with Mentor’s recently announced LightSuite Photonic Compiler, integrated with Lumerical’s photonic integrated circuit simulator INTERCONNECT, and DRC checking with Mentor’s Calibre RealTime Custom verification tool. This integration introduces a path towards efficient photonic-electronic co-simulation. Mentor’s LightSuite Photonic Compiler enables designers to generate as well as update large photonic layouts rapidly, in some cases in minutes versus weeks.

The Compact Model Library (CML) contains passive components such as waveguides, directional couplers, grating couplers and multi-mode interference (MMI) couplers as well as active components such as Mach-Zehnder modulators, a photodiode and PN junction phase shifters.

“We have worked closely with TowerJazz’s industry-leading PH18MA process and device experts to provide a reliable compact model library (CML) for accurate time- and frequency-domain simulation using Lumerical’s photonic integrated circuit (PIC) simulator, INTERCONNECT,” says Lumerical’s chief technology officer Dr James Pond. “We have integrated this CML seamlessly into the TowerJazz/Mentor PDK to enable high-quality photonic simulation within the Mentor design flow, in addition to standalone simulation with INTERCONNECT,” he adds.

Enabling a comprehensive photonic IC design flow “will allow our mutual customers to efficiently design, verify and synthesize their photonic integrated circuits,” says Dr Marco Racanelli, senior VP & general manager of TowerJazz’s RF & High Performance Analog business unit.

“With our new LightSuite Photonic Compiler and Calibre RealTime Custom teamed with Lumerical’s photonic simulation solutions, we are providing TowerJazz customers with a progressive tool flow that will enable them to move silicon photonics from the lab to mainstream design,” says Greg Lebsack, general manager of the IC Design Solutions Division at Mentor. “We anticipate photonic designers will increasingly use this path to accelerate the impact of photonics on technology.”

The PH18MA PDK is available immediately from TowerJazz. LightSuite Compiler will be available from Mentor from 1 October. INTERCONNECT and interoperability & reader licenses enabling the flow are available immediately from Lumerical.

A demonstration of the TowerJazz SiPho design enablement platform featuring TowerJazz’s PH18MA PDK, Lumerical’s INTERCONNECT and Mentor’s LightSuite Photonic Compiler is taking place in both the Mentor stand #436 and TowerJazz stand #569 at the 44th European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC 2018) in Rome, Italy (24–26 September).

Tags: TowerJazz Silicon photonics PIC Simulation software EDA software Mentor Graphics

Visit: www.towerjazz.com

Visit: www.lumerical.com

Visit: www.mentor.com

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