Ghent University and imec release open source parametric design environment for integrated photonics

April 16, 2012 // By Julien Happich
Ghent University and imec announce the launch of IPKISS as open source software platform. IPKISS is a generic and modular software framework for parametric design of photonic integrated components and circuits.

The software platform is made available by means of a GPLv2-licensed code base (free of charge), a custom developer license and a custom commercial license. With this launch, Ghent University and imec provide the integrated photonics design community access to a powerful and flexible software platform.
IPKISS was originally conceived in 2002 by the Photonic Research Group of Ghent University and imec 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 integrated circuits. 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.

While currently most applicable to photonics, IPKISS is conceived as a generic and flexible framework. IPKISS can be customized for use (and is already used) in many other domains related to micro- and nano-electronics (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.

This IPKISS design approach is powerful and flexible, while at