Photonic Solutions Enewsletter

Synopsys Photonic Solutions Supports a Healthy Work-Life Balance!

At Synopsys Photonic Solutions, we encourage a healthy work-life balance. We know being at home can make it difficult to detach from work activities, and in many cases, not having a designated home office adds to this challenge. Our product support team is continuing to develop training tools and materials to better assist you while we are facing the challenges of working from home. Remember to stay positive and make time for yourself.

Synopsys Photonic Solutions puts customers first.

New White Paper: PAM-4 Transmitter PIC Design Using Segmented-Electrode Mach-Zehnder Modulators

In data center optics, 4-level Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM-4) signaling is gradually overtaking Non-Return to Zero (NRZ) signaling. [1-3] Although both signaling schemes use intensity modulation and direct detection, PAM-4 encodes 2 bits into four intensity levels, reducing bandwidth requirements for a given data rate by half. This paper describes how to design a PAM-4 transmitter photonic integrated circuit (PIC) using a Segmented-Electrode Mach-Zehnder Modulator (SE-MZM), and how to study the impact of manufacturing and packaging variations on overall PIC performance.

Read the white paper.

Feature Highlight: Arbitrary Curves and Width Profiles

When creating a PIC layout, designers mostly use simple components like pre-configured process design kit (PDK) components, simple straights, or polar bends. OptoDesigner, the layout and verification tool in the Synopsys PIC Design Suite, is purpose-built to design all-angle curvilinear shapes using a unique analytical methodology to obtain the highest resolution discretized polygons of any desired shape in the final GDS2 mask file. This capability is especially useful for PIC layout engineers while developing new devices, performing Design of Experiment studies and using foundry provided PDKs to generate a complete PIC design.

Waveguide shapes in OptoDesigner – even simple ones like straights – are defined analytically and associated with a mask cross-section. The mask cross-section defines to what mask layer(s) the shape will have to be exported and with what accuracy. It also defines what kind of Boolean or sizing operations are required. What is not widely known, is that the accuracy settings can be defined differently for each side of the waveguide. In the case of silicon photonics the waveguides are formed by etching slots around the core. To define the core most accurately one can set a higher accuracy for that side of the shapes and a lower accuracy for “outside” of the etched slots. The top-picture shows this effect.

When exported to a mask file, the analytical curves are converted to discretized polygons by using a special algorithm to ensure that all vertices of the polygons lie within a given distance from the analytical curve. Since this algorithm applies to any waveguide shape, it also enables accurate discretization of fully arbitrary shapes. 

July Webinars

We have two upcoming webinars this month. We also have webinars available on demand on our Customer Support Portal.

Polarization in Photonics: From Data and Telecom to Sensing and Beyond

Friday, July 17, 2020: 9:00 a.m. PDT

Duration: 45 minute presentation + live example demonstration

What You Will Learn:

  • The need for compact, high-performance solutions for broad bandwidth photonic systems
  • The concepts, techniques and methodologies to control polarization in photonic devices

The demand for higher data rates and efficiency is driving the development of next-generation communication systems. Most popular solutions require single and combined multiplexing techniques. However, Polarization-Division-Multiplexing (PDM) plays a strong role by enabling the development of on-chip, high-performance solutions.

In this Professional Workshop, we will discuss the role of polarization as a technology enabler for this and other applications. We will provide an introduction and several examples of the design of high-performance photonic polarization-control devices, such as polarization splitters and rotators.

Designing AR/VR Systems Using Multi-Domain Optical Simulations

Friday, July 31, 2020: 9:00 a.m. PDT

Duration: 45 minute case study + in-depth discussion

What You Will Learn:

In this webinar, you will learn how to use Synopsys’ multi-domain optical simulations to design AR/VR systems:

  • How the LightTools/RSoft BSDF co-simulation capabilities provide a highly accurate method for modeling the interaction of light with nanoscale textured or patterned surfaces often found in AR/VR devices and then using that scattering data while simulating the performance of the entire device.
  • How to model nanoscale optical elements in the RSoft Photonic Device Tools: DiffractMOD, FullWAVE, and MOST
  • How to model the opto-mechanical system in LightTools and integrate the BSDF data generated from RSoft tools into the optical model
  • How to perform fast, accurate multi-domain simulations

With the right combination of optical and photonic technologies, AR/VR systems can provide improved displays, more immersive experiences, and enhanced visual comfort.

AR/VR systems often have a mixture of domain sizes that must be properly addressed when modeling the system in software. Larger-scale structures, such and the plates, lenses, mirrors and mechanical components require a ray-tracing approach that doesn’t work well for very small-scale structures.

Nanoscale structures often used in AR/VR devices, such as gratings, require a rigorous simulation using Maxwell’s equations to account for the diffraction effects. These methods cannot be sized up to simulate larger components or the system as a whole.

Synopsys' design workflow includes a seamless interface between LightTools software for simulating the behavior of light as it interacts with optical and mechanical components, and the RSoft Photonic Device Tools for fast, rigorous modeling of nano-textured optical structures. Together, LightTools and RSoft Photonic Device Tools provide a unique multi-domain simulation approach that shares Bidirectional Scattering Distribution Function (BSDF) data to help AR/VR device designers achieve superior system performance.


On-Demand Resources

See our latest on-demand resources to optimize your use of our product portfolio.

Explore Synopsys’ photonic design flow with our online demo miniseries, now available on YouTube. These quick presentations highlight Synopsys’ latest design features in our Photonic Solutions platform. Watch the following videos at your convenience:

Customer Support Portal

Current customers can access RSoft Photonic Device Tools, Photonic System Tools, and PIC Design Suite resources and content at any time on the Customer Support Portal (

If you haven’t already registered for Portal access, consider registering for an account today!

Once your account is activated, an e-mail will be sent to you to confirm your login information. 

Visit the Customer Support Portal.

Recently Added

Metalens Design and Simulation

What You Will Learn:      

  • Simulation of a Nano-Cell
  • Metalens Design Procedure

  • Simulation through Nano-Arrays: with small metalens and large metalens examples

  • Simulation through Transfer Function Mask

          Watch Now

Follow Us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter! This is an easy way to discover our latest events, seminars, webinars, application notes, industry news, and much more. 

Recent Events

For a complete list, please go to our Events Page.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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