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Photonic Integrated Circuit Design with Lumerical INTERCONNECT and PhoeniX OptoDesigner

As integrated optical design methodologies and processes continue to mature, there is an acute need for accurate, reliable design tools capable of addressing the unique requirements and constraints of photonic design. Lumerical and PhoeniX Software have worked together to deliver a robust, end-to-end design flow that is tailored for Photonic Integrated Circuit design.

The combination of circuit design and simulation with Lumerical's INTERCONNECT and chip and mask layout with PhoeniX Software's OptoDesigner offers photonic designers a simple, comprehensive environment for photonic device design from concept simulation to fabrication.

Depending on circuit complexity and preference, designers can utilize a schematic driven or layout driven design flow. Netlists are shared between INTERCONNECT and OptoDesigner to ensure that the schematic and circuit simulations are consistent with the actual waveguide implementation and physical component layout of the fabricated design.


Fig1: Schematic Driven or Layout Driven Design methodology is supported for PIC design

Lumerical's INTERCONNECT provides a simple, hierarchical and scalable schematic capture environment, and supports both time domain and frequency domain circuit simulation. PhoeniX Software's OptoDesigner layout and mask generation module provides a comprehensive, powerful design environment for circuit layout and mask fabrication.  Design netlists can be iteratively shared between the schematic and layout environments, enabling a reliable workflow for the design and optimization of Photonic Integrated Circuits. The developed methodology is compatible with a PDK driven design flow, ensuring manufacturable designs that deliver the required performance within the capabilities of the foundry.



INTERCONNECT - OptoDesigner Design Flow Capabilities

The following series of videos introduces the INTERCONNECT and OptoDesigner design flow. Both a Schematic Driven and Layout Driven methodology is demonstrated.

Schematic Capture and Simulation

Using a simple Mach-Zehnder interferometer as an example, this video shows the initial schematic capture of the circuit using foundry design kit (demoFab) elements. The circuit is designed and simulated to achieve a 100GHz free spectral range (FSR). After initial simulation, the circuit netlist is generated and exported to OptoDesigner for layout.

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Circuit Layout

Importing the design netlist created in INTERCONNECT, OptoDesigner implements the physical device design using actual waveguide shapes and establishes the imbalance that will set a 100 GHz FSR for the MZI. Upon completion, the layout netlist is then exported to INTERCONNECT for verification.

In a layout driven design flow, particularly for designs with relatively few components, the design could start in OptoDesigner directly without initial import of the design schematic. Following initial layout, the netlist generated by OptoDesigner can be exported to INTERCONNECT for simulation and verification.

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Layout Verification

With the OptoDesigner physical netlist imported into INTERCONNECT, the schematic design is updated to include the exact component parameters, and new components where necessary. INTERCONNECT can then run new simulations to verify the device design still meets the intended performance specifications.  In this example, the measured FSR of the actual circuit is verified at 100 GHz, matching the original design specification.

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Packaging Design

After verifying the layout design meets the desired functional specifications, we can generate the final mask, including packaging and fiber coupler components, in OptoDesigner. A design rule violation is identified and fixed where a phase-sensitive waveguide is under an area of chip that may get glue on it. The final mask design is exported to INTERCONNECT again to verify the new components and design changes have not affected the desired FSR of the MZI device.

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Final Packaging Design Verification

The final packaged design from OptoDesigner, including connectors and fiber couplers, is imported into INTERCONNECT for final simulation. We verify that the measured FSR of the complete design remains 100 GHz, and identify performance parameters, such as the insertion loss from the fiber couplers, introduced in the final mask design steps.

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The combination of Lumerical INTERCONNECT and PhoeniX Software's OptoDesigner delivers a powerful, complete design flow for Photonic Integrated Circuit design and fabrication. Process design kits (PDKs) for select foundries supporting integrated photonics fabrication are available to support your design requirements. The complete solution will be available as a licensed option in INTERCONNECT and OptoDesigner. To learn more about the design tools, or to inquire about becoming a beta customer for the solution today, contact us at

Video Demonstration

Video Demonstration: From QPSK Circuit Schematic to GDS Layout

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