Ghent University and Imec release IPKISS design software for integrated photonics

Brussels, Belgium--Ghent University and Imec have launched an open-source photonics software platform called IPKISS, which is a generic and modular software framework for parametric design of photonic integrated components and circuits. The software platform is made available free of charge by means of a GPLv2-licensed code base, a custom developer license, and a custom commercial license.

What is this IPKISS software framework?
IPKISS was originally conceived in 2002 by the Photonic Research Group of Ghent University and Imec as a programmable generator of integrated-circuit mask layouts (in the so-called GDSII format) written in Python, but has since then evolved significantly. Now, its main use is the design of photonic components and complex photonic integrated circuits. In IPKISS, a designer can quickly define photonic components, directly simulate them in electromagnetic solvers, and integrate them in a circuit on a photomask for fabrication. In addition, IPKISS integrates easily with popular third-party simulators.

While currently most applicable to photonics, IPKISS is conceived as a generic and flexible framework. IPKISS can be customized for use (and is already used) in many other domains related to micro- and nan--electronics (microfluidics, plasmonics, MEMS, and so on).

IPKISS is based on scripting in Python, which makes it easy to learn and extremely flexible in use. Through Python scripting, the user specifies in an analytical manner how a component is represented in terms of parameters. Internally, the component knows how to generate its layout, its input/output connections with other components, its internal circuit representations, and such. This ensures a separation between the formal specification of a component or circuit and different representations that can be derived (for example, a mask layout in GDSII, a 2D or 3D model, or a circuit model).

Components can be defined to accept outside technology information provided by the fab, effectively allowing a design that could be fabricated in different locations. Design kits for Imec’s silicon photonics technologies are made available through ePIXfab, a European foundry service for Silicon Photonics prototyping and through Imec directly for customized photonic IC development.

The IPKISS design approach results in a productive design cycle with little margin for copy-and-paste errors -- which contrasts with conventional static design workflows that cannot be influenced by the user, or in which the user is limited to the functionality provided in a graphical user interface. Users of IPKISS will have access to a powerful and flexible software platform that can catalyze their research with a relatively small incremental effort.

This software platform is now made available free of charge to the broad community.

The IPKISS framework is made available under different open source licenses.

--For the community: A GPLv2-licensed code base of IPKISS will allow access to the framework free of cost. The objective of this license scheme is to stimulate the people in developing on the IPKISS framework, so a thriving community can evolve around the framework.

--For the developer: A custom license at a modest annual fee that allows the licensee to develop plug-ins and add-ons for distribution.

--For custom commercial use: This license is targeted as software developers who wish to incorporate IPKISS into a product, and therefore bundle a (modified) version of the code base with their own additions. This license and its cost will be tailored to each individual case.

Further information on the platform can be found on

(Note: The IPKISS platform will be launched at SPIE Photonics Europe 2012 – Exhibitor Product Demonstrations, Tuesday April 17th, 1:30PM.)

Most Popular Articles


Ray Optics Simulations with COMSOL Multiphysics

The Ray Optics Module can be used to simulate electromagnetic wave propagation when the wavelength is much smaller than the smallest geometric entity in the ...
White Papers

Accurate LED Source Modeling Using TracePro

Modern optical modeling programs allow product design engineers to create, analyze, and optimize ...
Technical Digests

REMOTE FIBER-OPTIC SENSING: Data in abundance from difficult environments

The use of optical fibers to measure strain, temperature, and other parameters at desired points ...

SCANNERS FOR MATERIALS PROCESSING: Serving demanding applications

Galvanometer-based scanners are an essential component in laser-based materials-processing system...

OPTICAL COATINGS: Evolving technology produces new benefits

The antireflection, high-reflection, and/or spectral characteristics provided by optical coatings...

FREEFORM OPTICS: Top-notch capabilities lead to expanded possibilities

The use of free-form aspherical surfaces in an optical system can give it abilities impossible to...

Click here to have your products listed in the Laser Focus World Buyers Guide.


Synopsys' LightTools 8.0

07/02/2013 Synopsys' LightTools 8.0 Increases Designer Productivity with Faster Performance and Enhanced 3D ...

SCHOTT Launches U.S. Apprenticeship Program to Build Next Generation of Manufacturers

01/22/2013 SCHOTT North America, Inc. today announced its pilot U.S. apprenticeship program at its Duryea pr...

Michael Kidger Memorial Scholarship

03/12/2012 Qioptiq supports the Michael Kidger Memorial Scholarship in Optical Design.
Social Activity
Copyright © 2007-2015. PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved.PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS