Online Courses


Upcoming online courses:

Fundamentals of Integrated Photonics Prof. Kimerling and Dr. Saini introduce 21st century technology drivers for datacom, RF wireless, sensing, and imaging applications, that require uniquely integrated photonics chip solutions. The instructors review the fundamentals of light-matter interaction and optical confinement, and examine basic chip device components as examples of PIC design engineering principles. This six-week asynchronous course will be released in January 2021.

Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC): Sensors  Have you wondered how a PIC sensor works? In this new course, Dr. Agarwal (MIT) and Prof. Hu (MIT) examine the basics of photonics chem-bio sensing components and techniques. They provide learners with insights to lay a foundation for them to envision their own PIC sensors. Students will learn to make judicious decisions regarding wavelengths, materials platforms, light sources, spectrometers, and photodetector solutions based on their desired application. The course includes a diverse line-up of invited leading-edge PIC sensor experts from around the world, who review critical metrics for designing photonics sensing systems. This six-week asynchronous course will be released in January 2021.

Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC): Passive Device Testing Prof. Hu (MIT) reviews test characterization methods for passive integrated photonics components, including fiber-to-chip coupling schemes, waveguides, spirals, Mach Zehnder Interferometers, Y-splitters, ring resonators, and directional couplers. Waveguide characterization will focus on loss and dispersion measurements, and examine wavelength and polarization dependencies.  Prof. Jaime Cardenas (U of Rochester) will offer his expertise in Design for Manufacturing (DfM) and testing at a wafer-scale. Anu Agarwal (MIT) will demonstrate a specific testing application. This three-week asynchronous course will be released in January 2021.

Silicon Photonic Transceiver Based on Microring Resonators: A Circuit- and Device-Level Photonic Design Course With the end of Moore’s law scaling of processors, heterogeneous chiplet-based integration in package, and parallelism, are scaling computation to keep up with the deluge of emerging data-intensive applications including machine learning.  Silicon photonics-based multi-wavelength optical links, based on ring-resonator technology, are emerging as the inevitable path to the high-bandwidth densities and low energies per bit needed to support these new integrated systems in the post-Moore era.  Such links are an excellent example of the increasing complexity of silicon-photonic systems on chip, which are bringing about the need for both circuit-level and device-level simulation and design.  In this course, Prof. Miloš Popović (BU), who has spent two decades developing microring-based technology, will cover the design of a microring-based silicon-photonic transceiver chip.  The course will focus on circuit-level evaluation of the photonic part of the link design, and drill down to a highly-detailed design of a tunable ring filter as part of the link.  You will learn the underlying theory and design principles and intuition, and use a number of software tools, including Synopsys and Lumerical, to design a revision of the WDM link silicon chip in this 6-week synchronous course. This six-week synchronous course will be released in May 2021.




Photonic Integrated Circuits 1 (PIC1)

Fabless Design of Photonic Integrated Circuits within the AIM Foundry Ecosystem



  • Prof. Stefan Preble (Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • Prof. Jaime Cardenas (University of Rochester)
  • Prof. Alan Kost (University of Arizona)
  • Prof. Greg Howland (Rochester Institute of Technology)


We anticipate the next offering of this course will be April 2021.


Register Now


This eight-week online edX course, which includes a two-week break in the middle to focus on designing, introduces students and industry professionals to the fabless design of silicon Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), using industry-leading Electronic Photonic Design Automation (EPDA) software tools. Registrants are guided through a step-by-step design sequence that culminates in the tape-out of an electro-optically active PIC chip that is suitable for fabrication by AIM Photonics Institute’s Multi-Project-Wafer (MPW) facility. 


You can audit the course for free.  Paid registration ($559) includes access to the AIM Photonics Virtual Design Center, with industry-leading Electronic Photonics Design Automation (EPDA) tools.  The registration fee (select "Upgrade to Verified" when registering) also allows you to earn a Verified Certificate of Achievement. 



The course is structured around the design of a basic “transceiver” (fiber-coupler+modulator+detector). It begins with an overview of fabless PIC design and a review of passive Silicon Photonic devices  (waveguides, bends, splitters/combiners and interferometers). Registrants are then walked through the process of designing the transceiver chip with a focus on the two primary active devices (electro-optic modulator and photodetector). The course emphasizes the creation of compact models of the devices in order to facilitate the flexible simulation and layout of arbitrary PIC chip designs.  Specifically, registrants will acquire an accomplished mastery of EPDA software tools, using AIM’s Academic Process Design Kit library, and learn how to interpret design guides, leverage hierarchical design, and ensure that the design can be made by the foundry by using Design Rule Checking (DRC).


The course is completed and credit earned with each registrant submitting a tape-out of their PIC design.  This course is the first offering in a planned sequence of edX courses instructing in PDK and EPDA-based PIC design; application-specific PIC design; and dense electronic-photonic integration PIC design.


There will be no cap on the number of people who can register for the course.  We anticipate that the course commitment will be 15-20 hours a week for eight weeks, including a two-week break in the middle to focus on designing.


Optional, non-credit workshop: After completion of the course, select submitted PIC tape-outs may be eligible for free submission to an AIM Photonics MPW run. This limited batch of fabricated PICs will be characterized in a subsequent testing workshop at the Rochester Institute of Technology and AIM’s Test, Assembly and Packaging (TAP) facility, where attendees will learn how to test and analyze the performance of the PICs.


Silicon Photonics Design, Fabrication Data Analysis



  • Prof. Lukas Chrostowski (University of British Columbia)

The University of British Columbia's Lukas Chrostowski offers an edX course titled, "Silicon Photonics Design, Fabrication and Data Analysis," which is offered several times a year.  You can learn more about the course here and by watching the video below.