CAD tools tend to be large, big-ticket packages that often pack stiff license fees. Open-source software increasingly rivals expensive applications. Imagine a cross between a full-featured graphics tool and top-drawer CAD package, optimized for designing electronic circuits and nanodevices, and that undergoes constant improvement and enhancement: that's LayoutEditor. It's a powerful suite of tools for designing and editing layouts for fabricating microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and integrated circuits (ICs), including multichip module (MCM), chip-on-board (COB), printed-circuit board (PCB), and thin-film technologies, among many others.
As open-source software goes, this program is no lightweight; it's a 30MB download that offers the choice of several versions when you install it, including a totally free basic version and two versions that requires a license key available from Juspertor for a small fee. However, this tool is so complex that starting out with the basic edition seems sensible. LayoutEditor has about as many icons as you can imagine, especially the full version, which adds numerous features over the reduced and basic versions. All editions share the same basic interface, a familiar layout seen on countless graphics, CAD, and design tools, completely customizable in its appearance and its complement of tools. The main display is a black field delineated by a grid of dots, with floating, draggable toolbars for this program's vast selection of geometric shapes, angles, and grids. The program uses Photoshop-style layers and cells that you can create, save, and reuse. Its full complement of drawing tools will pose little challenge to anyone who has used a typical graphics editor. Lacking IC design experience, we were basically able to create pretty patterns, but the examples of what this tool can do in experienced hands actually resemble artworks in their geometric complexity and colorful patterns. That they're actually functional nanocircuits only makes them that much more amazing.
Open-source projects like LayoutEditor have the power to put high-tech tools into a lot of talented and deserving hands. Who knows where it could lead?
LayoutEditor is a program to design and edit layouts for MEMS/IC fabrication. It is suitably for Multi-Chip-Modules (MCM), Chip-on-Board (COB), Low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC), Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMIC), printed circuit boards (PCB), GDS Editor thick film technology, and thin film technology. It has sophisticated functions like all angles, font generator, macros, Boolean operations, design rule checker, OPC, netlist driven layout and LVS. The Calma GDSII file format is used as the primary file format. Also OASIS (Open Artwork System Interchange Standard), DXF, CIF (Caltech Intermediate Form) and Gerber (RS-274X) are full supported. Alliance, Lasi file can be imported.