Photonics technology isn’t new, by any means, but what is new is the drive to leverage high-volume silicon-based semiconductor manufacturing foundries and processes to build chips that can create, sense, modulate, and transmit light. So says Michael White in his latest SiliconEdge column on Electronic Design.
The biggest challenge in applying CMOS foundry processes to silicon photonics is creating device models and adapting EDA design tools and processes to characterize, measure, and simulate the precise curvatures required by silicon photonics interconnects. Progress is being made—test chips have been generated with the new tool flows, and foundries are preparing to move to volume production. The next step is for IC designers to begin developing applications that incorporate the capabilities of silicon photonics.