16 March 2021
Rockley selects Synopsys for silicon photonics design and verification
Synopsys Inc of Mountain View, CA, USA ― which provides electronic design automation (EDA) software, semiconductor IP and services for chip and electronic system design ― says that integrated optical chip and module supplier Rockley Photonics of Oxford, UK and Pasadena, CA, USA has adopted its solutions to accelerate the design and verification of silicon photonics for sensing and datacom applications. Specifically, Rockley is using tools from Synopsys’ Photonic Solutions platform, including OptoCompiler, OptoDesigner, OptSim Circuit, RSoft Photonic Device Tools and IC Validator. Rockley plans to use Synopsys solutions to design and optimize photonic devices, create process design kits (PDKs) and tape out photonic ICs.
Rockley was formed in 2013 by a management team that has previously had success with two silicon photonics companies. Founder & CEO Andrew Rickman founded the first firm to commercialize silicon photonics, Bookham Technology (which had an IPO in 2000, became Oclaro in 2009 and is now a part of Lumentum), and later became chairman of Kotura (sold to Mellanox in 2013). Rockley has developed a versatile, third-generation application-specific silicon photonics platform designed for optical integration in next-generation sensor systems and communications networks.
Rockley was an early adopter of Synopsys’ OptoCompiler tool following its commercial launch in September. OptoCompiler is said to be the first unified electronic and photonic design platform, combining mature and dedicated photonic technology with Synopsys’ industry-proven custom and analog-mixed signal tools to enable engineers to produce and verify complex photonic IC designs quickly and accurately.
“Rockley’s unique photonic chipset technology with silicon photonics at its core is driving the growth of integrated optical components in healthcare, machine vision and data communications,” says Rockley’s chief executive Andrew Rickman. “The PDA platform Rockley has created by utilizing OptoCompiler allows our engineers to define, simulate, lay out and verify photonic ICs quickly and efficiently to meet our quality and schedule goals. Synopsys’ technical support has been instrumental in ensuring Rockley met its tape-out goals,” he adds. “We look forward to additional efficiency gains by expanding our use of Synopsys’ Photonic Solutions tools.”
The Synopsys OptoCompiler design platform is a schematic-driven layout flow that speeds design time with automated features such as assisted waveguide routing and auto-alignment of photonic circuits. OptoCompiler helps to ensure accuracy through the use of comprehensive photonic layout versus schematic (LVS) checking and native photonic simulators that work in conjunction with industry-standard SPICE electrical simulators.
“Rockley is a valued partner and this purchase is the latest step in a longstanding relationship,” says Tom Walker, group director of Synopsys’ Photonic Solutions. “Rockley’s choice of Synopsys validates our model of providing a unified design platform and expert support. Our intuitive photonics design flow integrated in a familiar EDA environment allows traditional IC designers to be productive in the emerging field of integrated photonics.”