Nazca: simple != limited

open innovation with state-of-the art professional open source tooling

We imagined the Photonic IC design tool that would best support our commercial and research work. With a team of professional photonic designers we created Nazca.

Nazca is an open-source PIC tool based on Python-3. It makes use of the high-end open-source Klayout mask viewer/editor, which is extremely popular in the photonics community. Nazca, makes design simpler and more fun by adding many features lacking in most commercial tools, but which are critical for the designer to deliver high-quality designs efficiently. This ranges from embedding hierarchical design in the script syntax to visualisation schemes in mask layout.

About Nazca

For Photonic IC designers

  • Design Photonics ICs
  • SOI, InP, SiN, Polymers and custom Technologies
  • Education & Training

For foundries

  • PDK Implementation
  • Mask Assembly
  • Design Rule Check (DRC)

For software developers

  • Plugin GDS Mask Layout
  • Extend your Audience


for designers, by designers

Open source design framework for Photonics IC

Benefits of Nazca

1. Time saving

  • High-level design: drag & drop
  • Low level design: graph-based connectivity
  • On-demand access to design information

2. Simple to use

  • Nazca + Python + Jupiter + Klayout = high performance
  • Intuitive layout drawing

3. Powerful

  • PDK, BB libraries, material models
  • Extend and customize in Python and C
  • Full GDS control: Hierarchy, DRC, LVS

Go to Tutorials


easy to learn and use

Programming language that lets you work quickly and integrate systems more efficiently

Benefits of Python

  • Open, multiple purpose and versatile
  • Code readability
  • IDE, debugger, profilers, C extensions
  • Big data. Visualization, scientific libraries
  • Large community (24/7)
  • Developing fast

Go to Tutorials


basic functionality with useful features

GDS and OASIS file view- and editing program for chip design engineers

Benefits of KLayout

  • Open, fast and accurate, editor and viewer
  • Support of multiple layout formats
  • API for Python, extendable and configurable

Go to Tutorials

By who

creators of Nazca

Nazca was created by Ronald Broeke and Xaveer Leijtens under the GNU Affero General Public License v3 or later (AGPLv3+).

Nazca is a living project with a focus on advancing PIC design in open tooling via professional designers and a collaborative designer community.

Nazca is commercially supported by BRIGHT Photonics.

We would like to thank the following contributors:

Ronald Broeke | Netlist, layout and architecture
Xaveer Leijtens | GDS module and architecture
Katarzyna Ławniczuk | PDK implementation and testing
Katrin Rylander | Tutorials and testing
Valentina Moskalenko | Testing