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Synopsys automates design of photonic ICs

11 Sep 2014

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Synopsys Inc. rolled out RSoft OptSim Circuit, an extension of the company's OptSim fibre optic systems modelling tool.

With the addition of OptSim Circuit, OptSim's modelling capabilities are expanded to include photonic integrated circuits (PICs); these important optical components enable faster fibre optic networks, accommodate more efficient bandwidths, and support network traffic growth. OptSim Circuit can help designers accelerate the design of advanced optical telecommunication systems.

To maximise optical communication network performance, minimise costs, and reduce time to market, fibre optics manufacturers need a comprehensive modelling tool that can analyse all aspects of a system, including advanced modulation formats supported by next-generation PICs. Combined, OptSim Circuit and OptSim deliver a single framework, engine, and sets of models for studying systems ranging from long-haul optical communications systems to subµm photonic circuits. For example, users can evaluate system-level performance in OptSim, of a PIC design in OptSim Circuit.

"OptSim Circuit offers an integrated environment for the development of cost-effective, energy-efficient, and high-capacity photonic integrated devices and systems," said George Bayz, vice president and general manager of Synopsys' Optical Solutions Group. "OptSim Circuit also provides engineers with innovative new tools and model libraries to enable an intuitive and productive design process."

Key features of OptSim Circuit:

  • Models single- and multi-stage bidirectional PICs. To address ever-growing bandwidth demands, the industry is moving towards multi-level modulation and multi-lane digital signal processing. These developments provide an ideal environment for deploying single- and multi-stage PICs comprising a mix of components that are active and passive, electrical, and optical.
  • Models bidirectional propagation for both optical and electrical signals in PICs. OptSim Circuit makes it possible to model complex signal interactions such as forward and backward propagating reflections and resonance, and it enables the design of PICs that operate with coupling and feedback of different optical and electrical signal paths. This offers a significant advantage over legacy modelling tools based on unidirectional, end-to-end signal propagation, which can fail to capture real-life system behaviour that arises due to multiple orders of reflections and resonance between neighbouring elements in the chain.
  • Models multi-path interference (MPI) from network and PIC elements. This capability allows system designers to monitor and correct MPI, which arises due to multiple orders of reflections from connectors and components in a link or on a PIC and adversely affects overall system performance.
  • Includes an extensive library of PIC elements such as bidirectional waveguides, bidirectional couplers and connectors, light sources such as lasers and VCSELs, modulators, phase shifters, and photodiodes such as PINs and APDs. This modular, system-level modelling framework complements the RSoft products' geometrical-layout-based device tools and addresses system complexity while offering an easy-to-use, block-oriented design method for higher productivity.
  • Delivers powerful options for data visualisation, plotting, and project resource management. OptSim Circuit provides an intuitive representation of repeating and hierarchical system elements, which allows designers to organise and reuse PIC layouts quickly and easily.

Synopsys' RSoft OptSim Circuit software is available today. It joins the OptSim and ModeSYS products as part of the RSoft System Tools version 2014.09. Customers with a current maintenance agreement can download this version from the Synopsys website using their SolvNet account.

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