Collaborative deals give Cadence a design flow for electronic/photonic ICs

December 08, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Cadence is working with Lumerical and PhoeniX Software to offer a Virtuoso platform-based flow that will integrate purpose-built photonic component design, photonic circuit simulation and photonic layout generation tools within the Cadence Virtuoso design environment

Lumerical Solutions Inc. ( and PhoeniX B.V. ( are to collaborate to jointly develop an integrated electronic/photonic design automation (EPDA) environment for photonic ICs (PICs). Built around the Cadence Virtuoso custom design platform, the EPDA environment enables schematic or layout-driven design flows for photonic and electronic circuits, photonic component parameter extraction and model generation, photonic circuit simulation and photonic mask layout implementation for both monolithic and hybrid 3D-IC photonic circuits.

To improve productivity, designers can capture the optical circuit in Virtuoso Schematic Editor and then use the Virtuoso Analog Design Environment to simulate the design with Lumerical’s INTERCONNECT, a time- and frequency-domain mixed-signal photonic circuit simulation engine similar to SPICE that is specially designed to account for multi-mode, multi-channel circuits prevalent in integrated photonics. The close integration with the Virtuoso Analog Design Environment can offer interactive analysis, easy design and parameterisation for fast PIC exploration, including yield analysis.

PIC mask layout designs present unique challenges as photonic components and circuits are very sensitive to geometry and require all-angle design capabilities. PhoeniX Software’s OptoDesigner photonic chip design suite is available within the Virtuoso environment, giving designers access to all OptoDesigner parameterised primitives and photonic building blocks that enable interactive or scripted waveguide and component creation.

Finally, to populate the photonic PDK compact model library or to create a simulation model for a custom device, the integration can also support model parameter extraction of passive and active components from the Virtuoso physical layout using these Lumerical component-level solvers: FDTD Solutions, MODE Solutions and DEVICE.

“Integrated photonics will only reach its potential if designers can confidently and reliably design, model and optimise their systems using the familiar workflows of analog and mixed-signal IC design tools,” stated Bill De Vries, director of product marketing at Lumerical. “Lumerical’s integration with the Virtuoso environment creates a PDK-driven design flow where circuit designers can use integrated photonics technology alongside electronics to address complex