Photonic integrated circuits, also called PICs for short, are integrated circuits where information signals are
carried by electromagnetic waves in the optical wavelength range, typically in the visible or near-infrared spectrum.
PICs provide a platform for scalable integration of micro-sized optical and opto-electronic
components that can operate at high speeds, with low power consumption.
The PIC industry is growing rapidly thanks to a global R&D investment in the range of
billions of dollars.
Owing to their fast operation, compact size, and low power consumption, photonic integrated
circuits are getting used in a wide range of applications.
Communications related applications include:
Optical interconnects in data centers,
high speed networks, coherent receivers, and "fiber to the home" for purposes both residential
and commercial, as well as
wireless access networks, radar, phased array antennas, and LIDAR.
Other applications include biophotonics, environmental sensing,
inertial sensors, and quantum computing.
Just like their electrical counterparts, designing a photonic integrated circuit requires a circuit-level
simulation where each individual component is described by a compact model.
Simulating a photonic integrated circuit often requires electrical simulation as well as
The PIC designer generates a layout
using layout building tools with the help of a process design kit, also called a PDK.
The PDK contains information such as process data and design rules for the layout generation.
It also contains the necessary compact models for the circuit simulation.
Once the layout is generated the optical and electrical performance of the circuit is simulated.
Once the circuit and the layout are optimized, the layout is sent to the foundry
The fabricated circuit then gets packaged and arrives back
at the designer for characterization and validation.
Designing a photonic integrated circuit thus starts with optical circuit simulation.
Lumerical's INTERCONNECT can be used to perform both frequency and time domain simulations
of photonic integrated circuits.
The built-in element library and parameter sweep and optimization framework of INTERCONNECT
allows for easy design and optimization of photonic circuits.
Compact models can also be generated in INTERCONNECT using component level simulation results or
It also integrates with Lumerical's TCAD tools and with other third-party tools such
as layout editors and electrical circuit solvers for a complete design environment.
In this course we will focus on optical simulation of photonic integrated circuits using INTERCONNECT.