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Home > News > Company News > Mentor automates photonic layo.....

Mentor automates photonic layout and updates in minutes

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2018-09-14
Photonic sensors are increasingly being used in healthcare, lidar for autonomous vehicles, high performance computing (HPC) and networking, yet layout design is typically slow.

Mentor, a Siemens business, aims to reduce development time with the introduction of the LightSuite Phototonic Compiler. The automated layout tool is a unlike any other Mentor tool, said Tom Daspit, product manager of the custom IC division at Mentor. “It is not based on anything Mentor has shipped before, ” he said, “and is based on OpenAccess, using Python as the scripting language”.

It is believed to be the first integrated photonic automated layout system. “Mentor doesn’t know photonics, but it builds ICs,” quipped Daspit, as he explained that the tool can generate fabrication-ready designs from photonic layouts described in the Python language. Using Mentor’s Calibre tool as an external tool, its eqDRC runs design rule checking to verify the layout. The Calibre RealTime Custom verification tool implements the design and enables designers to update large photonic layouts in minutes rather than weeks.

The compiler was developed with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to remove the need for full custom IC tools for photonic design. The tool automatically places and interconnects components. A Python script can be created to drive the compiler. The component placement can be defined in Python or a pre-placed OpenAccess design can be used. Photonic components are interconnected using curved wave guide, and will route components with built-in electrical elements simultaneously with the curved waveguides.

Considerable time can be saved with the ‘what if’ scenarios as updates can be generated in around nine minutes, says Daspit, rather than the two week process or revising the manual layout.

The LightSuite Photonic Compiler will be available on October 1 but will be demonstrated at the 44 th ECOC (European Conference on Optical Communication) in Rome, Italy from 24 to 26 September (stand 436).