23 October, 2017
Today we wander back into the field of silicon photonics. A few years ago, I did a quick summary of how light can be manipulated in silicon, and, shortly thereafter, I did a review of some of the conceptual issues surrounding design tools and automation.
This year at DAC, however, I talked with Mentor regarding their use of the Calibre DRC tool for photonics, and that led to a conversation with PhoeniX, makers of photonics design tools – which can use Calibre in the verification flow. This lets us get much more specific than we did in the earlier piece.
It’s fair to say that photonics design has been pretty old-school, with a methodology involving the manual creation of shapes. (Thankfully, no rubylith.) This is changing, but, to a large extent, we have not yet seen the type of abstraction that has characterized digital design, boosting productivity to ridiculous levels. Although, as we’ll see, perhaps it’s only a matter of time.
Photonics design can also involve a variety of tools. High-level functionality in Matlab; lots of simulations – S-matrix in one tool, time domain in another tool. Mentor is trying to bring some of this together in a high-level cockpit through their Tanner group, but there’s more to be done.
Mentor summarizes the flow from their vantage-point in the image below. You’ll notice that PhoeniX handles much of the original design work, plugging into the Design Cockpit. But this focuses on the Calibre contribution, so we should also dig into what PhoeniX OptoDesigner brings to the party. It bears noting that, per the older design article linked above, there are other tools used for photonics design. My focus on PhoeniX is based on their integration with Mentor’s tools.
Read the full article here.Back to overview.