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Optoelectronics/Displays??

Open source parametric design environment for photonic ICs

Posted: 19 Apr 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:open source? parametric design environment? photonic IC?

Imec and Ghent University have announced the release of what they say is a powerful and flexible software platform to the integrated photonics design community. The IPKISS is a software platform made available by means of a GPLv2-licensed code base (free of charge), a custom developer license and a custom commercial license. The design environment was originally conceived in 2002 by the two organizations as a programmable generator of Mask Layouts (GDSII) written in Python, but has since then evolved significantly.

Its main use is currently the design of photonic components and complex photonic ICs. In IPKISS, a designer can quickly define photonic components, directly simulate them in electromagnetic solvers and integrate them in a circuit on a photomask for fabrication. For this, IPKISS integrates easily with popular third-party simulators, the organizations stated.

While currently most applicable to photonics, IPKISS is conceived as a generic and flexible framework. IPKISS can be customized for many other domains related to micro and nanoelectronics (microfluidics, plasmonics, MEMS, etc). IPKISS is based on scripting in Python, which makes it easy to learn and extremely flexible in use. Through Python scripting, the user specifies in an analytical manner how a component is represented in terms of parameters. Internally, the component knows how to generate its layout, its input/output connections with other components, its internal circuit representations, etc.

This ensures a separation between the formal specification of a component or circuit and different representations that can be derived (e.g. a mask layout in GDSII, a 2D or 3Dmodel, a circuit model). Components can be defined to accept outside technology information provided by the fab, effectively allowing a design that could be fabricated in different locations. Design kits for Imec's silicon photonics technologies are made available through ePIXfab, a European foundry service for Silicon Photonics prototyping and through Imec directly for customized photonic IC development.

IPKISS

Ghent University and Imec released the IPKISS design environment.

This IPKISS design approach is powerful and flexible, while at the same time very accurate, resulting in a productive design cycle with little margin for copy-and-paste errors. This contrasts with a design workflow that is static and cannot be influenced by the user, or where the user is limited to the functionality provided in a graphical UI. Users of IPKISS will have access to a powerful and flexible software platform that can catalyze their research with a relatively small incremental effort.

The IPKISS framework is made available under different open source licenses. For community license, a GPLv2-licensed code base of IPKISS will allow access to the framework free of cost. The objective of this license scheme is to stimulate the people in developing on the IPKISS framework, so a thriving community can evolve around the framework. For developers, a custom license at modest annual fee will allow the licensee to develop plug-ins and add-ons for distribution. For custom commercial license, software developers who wish to incorporate IPKISS into a product, and therefore bundle a (modified) version of the code base with their own additions will shell out fees that is tailored to each individual case.

- Julien Happich
??EE Times





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