Photonic Solutions Enewsletter

New RSoft Device Tools, Photonic System Tools & PIC Design Suite Releases Now Available

We are pleased to announce the availability of new releases of the RSoft Photonic Device Tools, Photonic System Tools, and the PIC Design Suite.

OptSim Circuit, OptoDesigner, and the Custom PDK Utility have been further improved to create an even more seamless flow from photonic device development and PDK creation to PIC circuit design, layout implementation, and verification.

Release Highlights

RSoft Device Tools Version 2019.09

  • New improvements to the LightTools Bidirectional Scattering Distribution Function (BSDF) interface:
    • User-defined optical properties (UDOP) support backward ray tracing in LightTools to trace selected rays efficiently
    • Supports non-uniform incident angles, both theta and phi, in addition to non-uniform wavelength, allowing for more efficient use of computer resources in critical angular regions
  • Significant RSoft CAD improvements that make the device tools more user friendly and powerful:
    • New OptoDesigner interface allows users to load SPT files directly in the RSoft CAD and simulate with RSoft tools
    • Updated hierarchy supports both SPT files and design files generated by Python script for easy creation of hierarchical structures
    • New Python APIs provide flexibility to construct RSoft CAD files for complex structures, such as metalenses and grating couplers
    • Vertex referencing feature has been expanded to inherit angles and dimensions, in addition to coordinates
  • The Custom PDK Utility has been expanded:
    • Supports the creation of custom PDK models with GratingMOD CMT and the AWG Utility
    • Includes custom PDK models for active devices such as phase shifters and photodetectors
    • Custom PDK models can be directly used for circuit simulation in OptSim Circuit and layout in OptoDesigner
  • New plotting options to display the polarization state, including circular or elliptic, left or right, in addition to linear polarization

For more details about these and other updates, please refer to the release notes on the Customer Portal.

Photonic System Tools Version 2019.09

OptSim and ModeSYS

New features include:

  • New features include:
  • Support for statistical scans for compound component parameters and symbol table variables
  • Improvements to enhance usability and flexibility:
    • Allow simulation of design files in multiple OptSim windows simultaneously
    • Ability to pre-assign expected signal type to the compound component's input and output ports
  • New application notes and design files to jumpstart designs
    • Receiver sensitivity for BPSK modulation
    • Light Fidelity (LiFi) over Free-Space Optics (FSO)
    • 100GBASE-SR4 SWDM4 transmission over Prysmian WideCap OM4 fiber

For more details about these and other updates, please refer to the release notes on the Customer Portal.

PIC Design Suite Version 2019.09

OptSim Circuit and OptoDesigner

Figure 1. The bidirectional interface supports both schematic capture and auto-routing of electrical and optical connections.

New OptSim Circuit features include:

  • Simulation speed improvements for photonic integrated circuits
    • Algorithms for inter-domain conversions (time and frequency) during computations have been updated to enhance simulation speeds of photonic integrated circuits (PICs)
  • Added ability to relocate PDKs to non-default location

New OptoDesigner features include:

  • DRC algorithm improvements
    • New design rule checks (DRCs) use a faster and more accurate algorithm to speed calculations by up to 20x

Figure 2. A table showing simulation time decrease of up to 20 times using the new set of algorithms for DRCs.

The Layout-Versus-Schematic (LVS) flow automates the generation of the annotated GDS and compares it with IC Validator to the original design intent capture generated by the circuit simulator in OptSim Circuit. the LVS flow has been improved as follows:

  • Complex devices with many ports supported as black box
  • Pre-LVS checks whether a cell that is treated as a black box contains the relevant ports internally that the layout that places it expects
  • Layout tool can generate a SPICE file from GDS, respecting electrical and optical characteristics of crossings during LVS checking

Figure 3. Layout intent as extracted from the GDSII file by OptoDesigner in GraphView format (left) and SPICE format (right). Waveguide crossings are treated optically avoiding any false short cuts.

  • Improvements to the bidirectional interface between OptSim Circuit and OptoDesigner
    • Bidirectional interface includes the schematic capture between circuit and layout generation and verification of both optical and electrical connections
  • Added schematic capture and circuit simulation support for the following PDKs:
    • AMF
  • Updates to the following foundry PDKs:
    • TowerJazz
    • IMEC
    • AIM Photonics (AP-SUNY)
  • New application note:
    • TowerJazz PDK-based Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) Transceiver PIC and study of quadrature imbalance due to process variations

For more details about these and other updates, please refer to the release notes on the Customer Portal.

Software and License Download Instructions

Direct-Sales Customers

Software and license key files for customers are available on the Synopsys SolvNet website. If you need assistance accessing SolvNet or obtaining the RSoft product software and license codes, please contact

If you need assistance with OptoDesigner software and license codes, please contact

International Customers

Some of our customers will obtain the software and license key files from their local software distributor. See the Synopsys Optical Solutions Group Global Contacts page for contact information. If your country is not listed on the Distributors page referenced above, please contact us at:

Obtaining PIC Foundry PDKs

Our PIC Design Suite is used by many designers around the world to access MPW services and work directly with R&D facilities and commercial foundries. On our Customer Support Portal (, you will find an overview with the contact details to obtain the PDK installer for your foundry of choice. If you do not already have a portal account, please email for information about how to sign up.
As part of the 2019.09 release for OptSim Circuit and OptoDesigner, the following PDKs have been updated:

  • AIM Photonics PDK 
  • AIM Photonics EdPDK 
  • TowerJazz PH18 PDK

Calendar of Events

For the latest event calendar, please go to our Events Page.