Pure-play foundry TowerJazz has announced a silicon photonic process (SiPho) developed for optical networking applications. Silicon photonics is a nascent technology with the potential to become cost effective and scalable for the mass production of photonic integrated circuits (PIC).

The SiPho foundry process enables optical fiber interconnect, transmit and receive front-end optical ICs. The process includes several versions of single-mode silicon waveguides, high speed germanium photodetectors, p-n junction modulators and compatibility with edge and grating couplers.

PhoeniX Software is supporting TowerJazz in developing process design kits (PDK) for SiPho, which are planned to be available during Q3 2017. PhoeniX Software offers OptoDesigner 5.1, PIC design software that uses a unique process known as photonic synthesis to map design goals into a circuit layout that meets the SiPho process design rules. OptoDesigner has a parametric, object-oriented scripting environment and integrated photonic simulators to optimize designs and layouts, ensuring manufacturability of the design.

Marco Racanelli, senior vice president and general manager of the RF and high performance analog business at TowerJazz, said, “We are excited to be entering the silicon photonics foundry space in order to provide solutions to a greater portion of the optical transceiver market for our customers. As a pure-play foundry, design enablement plays a critical and complementary role to the manufacturing process, and we are excited to have partnered with PhoeniX Software, which has extensive experience in the silicon photonics space, to bring high value PDKs to our customers.”

The SiPho process complements TowerJazz’s SiGe BiCMOS processes that are used for the designs of high speed modulator drivers and transimpedance amplifiers (TIA), also used in optical networks.