Simulation Methodology for LiDAR-On-Chip


LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a critical technology for self-driving cars. Traditional LiDAR devices have a few qualities that pose challenges to practical use. These drawbacks include:

  • Bulky and clumsy devices with 64 lasers
  • Contain moving parts
  • Expensive technology that typically costs more than the vehicle itself (in the realm of $70,000 USD)
  • Difficult for commercialization

LiDAR-On-Chip is an alternative solution that includes a number of benefits to help further commercialize this technology. These benefits include:

  • Compact integration on a chip
  • Solid and durable, no moving parts
  • Scalability, can be produced at a low cost on a large scale
  • Low prototype efficiency (approximately 2 meters)

Design optimization is essential to making on-chip LiDAR practical for the commercial market. It's important that designs are optimized to minimize insertion loss and increase output optical power, increase beam steering range, narrow the emitting beam, and reduce size. Reliable simulation tools are critical to achieving design tasks, reducing development time and cost and allowing designs to be tested and modified without fabricating costly prototypes. RSoft provides a variety of simulation tools for optimizing the design of various components. These tools include:

  • FemSIM solves for the mode of the optical waveguide
  • BeamPROP traces optical wave propagation in optical waveguide devices
  • FullWAVE simulates omni-directional optical wave propagation and enables analysis of the effects of thermal or electric signals on optical wave propagation


LiDAR-On-Chip | Synopsys

Overall Design and Simulation Strategy

RSoft tools can support the complicated design layout of an on-chip LiDAR device. No single simulation tool can solve the complex problem of a design of this nature. Combining RSoft tools, using FullWAVE for the Emitter, Multiphysics Utility for the T-O Phaser, and BeamPROP for the splitter will achieve the optimal layout. 

Structure by Gent University & IMEC | Synopsys

Figure 2. Structure by Gent University & IMEC. Referenced from: Van Acoleyen, Karel, et al. "Off-chip beam steering with a one-dimensional optical phased array on silicon-on-insulator." Optics letters 34.9 (2009): 1477-1479.

Combined RSoft tools used for different elements of the LiDAR-On-Chip design | Synopsys

Figure 3. Combined RSoft tools used for different elements of the LiDAR-On-Chip design.


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