Ansys and GF are collaborating to expand photonic design capabilities in data centers, optical networking, supercomputing, fiber optics, 5G connectivity, and aerospace and defense applications. (Image: PRNewswire / Global Foundries)

The companies are working to expand photonic design capabilities for data centers, optical networking, supercomputing, aerospace and defense applications, and more

March 7, 2022

PITTSBURGH—Ansys, a developer of engineering simulation software, is collaborating with GlobalFoundries (GF) to solve some of the biggest challenges facing data centers today, Ansys said in a release.

Data is being generated at a record pace today, causing a surge of power consumption in data centers across the globe. The explosive growth of data has created an ever-increasing need for innovative ways to accelerate data transmission while optimizing energy efficiency. To meet these rising demands, GF is focused on developing groundbreaking semiconductors that leverage the potential of photons — instead of electrons — to transfer and move data in the rapidly growing optical networking space.

GF Fotonix is GF’s next generation, monolithic platform that is reportedly the first in the industry to combine its differentiated 300mm photonics and RF-CMOS features on a silicon wafer. According to GF, it delivers best-in-class performance at scale.

“Our engagement with Ansys is another example of how GF is partnering with the ecosystem leaders to deliver innovative, time to market solutions for our customers,” said Mike Cadigan, senior vice president for customer design enablement at GF, in the release. “By coupling GF Fotonix with Ansys’s industry-leading simulation solutions, we are reaching new levels in photonic chip design. With support for Verilog-A simulation and process-enabled custom design, designers have greater modeling capabilities to meet their performance, power, and density requirements.”

Recognizing the importance of custom component design to meet the strict requirements of today’s advanced applications, GF and Ansys worked together to develop the first process file to support the growing demand for the GF Fotonix platform. With the process file, customers can create custom components to consolidate complex processing onto a single chip for high-speed, low power consumption data transmission. The result, according to the companies, is improved product and energy efficiency.

The process file works in tandem with Ansys’s photonics simulation software, enabling designers to simulate 3D geometries with predictive accuracy. This includes correct layer thicknesses, material data, and more, in accordance with GF’s design flow and process design kit specifications, Ansys said in the release.

GF will also leverage the Ansys Lumerical Photonic Verilog-A Platform, which enables photonics modeling using Verilog-A, an industry-standard modeling language for electrical analog circuits. This provides the ability to combine custom components and foundry process design kit (PDK) components in the same circuit, both modelled using Verilog-A. It also enables GF to run sophisticated bi-directional photonic circuit simulation, which advances design capabilities for optical networking, communication, and connectivity such as chip-to-chip, fiber optics, and 5G, according to the release.

“Integrating Ansys’s simulation solutions into GF’s design flow for custom SiPh chips opens new doors for innovation within the photonics industry,” said John Lee, vice president and general manager of the electronics, semiconductor, and optics business unit at Ansys, in the release. “This collaboration supplies designers with enhanced tools to leverage photonics simulation for high-performance solutions in optical applications across industries, from next-generation connectivity to supercomputing and more.”

GF Fotonix will be made at the company’s advanced manufacturing facility in Malta, New York. PDK 1.0 will be available in April 2022, according to the release.

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