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What is LASI

LASI (LAyout System for Individuals) is a "general purpose" layout and design system originally intended for integrated circuits. It is versatile enough that it can be used for ICs, MEMS, other nanotechnolgies, discrete devices, schematics, PC boards and project documentation drawings. LASI is intended mainly for educational use. LASI is freeware.

A very simple version of LASI was written for MS-DOS in the mid-80's. When Windows arrived, LASI was rewritten as version 6 for Windows. The current version 7 is more elegant, functional and is intended to run on Windows versions XP, Vista or Windows 7 or 8.

LASI does NOT replace commercial design software. When submitting actual designs for processing approved commercial software should be used.

LASI is mainly intended for students. It teaches a better understanding of what you are really doing. To use LASI, you need to know something about your technology, the physics involved and have some circuit intuition, not just know how to run software. It is for people who still consider IC design something of an art.

The original intention of LASI was to aid commercial design systems. It still can have that purpose since layout work can be done on any Windows desktop or laptop, and most Linux systems using Wine, A layout can then be transferred using common graphic formats such as GDS.

LASI also runs portably. You can install the system on a flash drive or other removable drive and work on drawings also stored on that same drive. Portable operation lets you do work on any convenient PC without leaving any files on that PC. This is handy for presentations and for student projects.

Drawings are built from hierarchical cells stored as individual TLC (Transportable Layout Cell) files. TLC files can be easily traded between different drawings. TLC files are in a basic XML format.

LASI consists of a main drawing editor program and several "utility" programs. These utilities include GDS, CIF and DXF format converters, a user programmable bitmap based DRC, a basic matrix router, and a Spice netlist compiler that extracts Spice circuit files from both schematic and layout. The utilities can run independently or directly out of the editor.

LASI compiles Spice netlist files but does not do simulations. There are good Spice simulators available already. Spice simulations can be quite customized and are better not integrated into LASI. However most simulators can run directly out of the main editor or the Spice compile utility. To use Spice with LASI you should know a little about Spice netlist format and commands.

For anyone who is not familiar with LASI or its utilities there is a large built-in Help file system.

Although it is well developed software by now, LASI is still an ongoing project. There is always something that you can add, improve or fix. Watch this site for the latest version. Updates are approximately every few months, sooner if necessary.

What's New


  • Timing has been added to the GDS, DXF and CIF converter programs that better shows the operations during the conversion process.

  • The Design Rule Check utility LasiDrc now has a  message box that lets you abort or continue if the number of error map files exceed a limit.

  • The LasiDrc program now better remembers setup parameters so that if a DRC is aborted it can be rerun and continue where it left off.. 

  • The LasiDrc program has had a possible DRC file PAUSE operator bug fixed that caused error maps to be shown too quickly. 

  • The GDS converter Tlc2Gds has had a bug fixed that could have caused the Write Gds Record Text File setup option to be ignored.

  • The LasiMx router program now checks for identical original and connected cell names so that the original cell cannot be erased.

  • When the configured to run on Linux with Wine the notice "Wine Mode is On" now appears in utility programs when Ctrl-A is typed.

  • When the configured to run on Linux with Wine the standard Windows message box is used in all programs.

  • As usual, some typos and minor bugs have been fixed and Help files have been updated.

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