PhD student Anthony Rizzo Wins 2019 Synopsys Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition

Eliese Lissner
August 14, 2019

PhD student Anthony Rizzo, won the 2019 Synopsys Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition for his project titled, "Ultra-Low Power Consumption Silicon Photonic Link Design Analysis in the AIM PDK." Rizzo works in Professor Keren Bergman's Lightwave Research Laboratory.

"It's fantastic to see this recognition of Anthony's work and the important applications of his design for fabricating ultra-energy efficient photonic links," Professor Bergman said. 

A schematic view of the microring resonator-based silicon photonic link in the Synopsys OptSim environment showing the link architecture for 4 channels and intermediate measurements for the photonic-electronic co-simulation.  A frequency comb wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) source is coupled into the transmitter photonic integrated circuit (PIC), which then encodes electronic data signals onto each wavelength and sends them in parallel over fiber to the receiver PIC. At the receiver, wavelength-selective microring filters drop each wavelength channel from the bus onto photodetectors, which convert the optical signals back into the electrical domain. Silicon photonic interconnects have the potential to greatly increase the communication bandwidth and lower the energy consumption of high performance computing and data center systems, which currently account for ~ 2% of the world's electricity consumption and are rapidly expanding to accommodate the rise of big data applications such as machine learning and cloud computing.

Rizzo used the Synopsys RSoft OptSim™ tool to optimize an ultra-high-bandwidth (400 Gb/s) silicon photonic link with minimal energy consumption using American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) process design kit (PDK) devices for high-performance optical interconnects.

"Foundries supply PDKs with validated devices to designers, allowing system architects to focus on the design without sinking countless hours and fabrication runs into device optimization," said Rizzo. "The OptSim environment supports advanced photonic-electronic co-simulation with foundry-validated device models, which ensures that the simulated design will closely match the performance of the fabricated chip."

More information on the winners can be found here.