PhD position on 'Massive Local Tuning of Photonics ICs' - Belgium
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- We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate to work on large-scale photonic integrated circuits (silicon photonics) where thousands of elements can be independently and locally tuned.
- Different circuit topologies can be used, such as wave guide meshes that interfere, networks of ring resonators, or wave guides that couple through a recently discovered phenomenon of ‘lateral leakage’.
- One of the challenges of larger photonic circuits is to guarantee that all circuit elements are properly matched, i.e. their optical properties should be sufficiently similar.
- In silicon photonics, this is a difficult problem, because the optical properties depend on nanometer-scale variations of the geometry.
- The good news is that this can be compensated by locally tuning the individual elements of the photonic circuit, but this tuning (which is usually done with a heater) is difficult to implement on a large scale. In this project, we will explore new ways to scale up the tuning the phase of large photonic circuits.
- This requires ways to independently address a large number of elements, with sufficient accuracy.
- For this, we are stepping away from the traditional method of implementing a heater element close to the optical wave guide. Instead, we consider methods with much larger parallelism, such as a liquid crystal over cladding, or optical illumination using a spatial light modulator.
- This way, the refractive index of the wave guide can be locally altered, inducing a phase shift.
- These techniques will be applied different optical circuit architectures: wave guides interfering in MachZehnder interferometers or networks of ring coupled resonators.
- An circuit geometry that is especially attractive for these forms of distributed tuning is ‘lateral leakage’, where wave guides can couple with each other over large distances.
Profile of the candidate
- We are looking with a PhD candidate with a background in photonics, applied physics or electrical engineering.
- You should have a strong interest in experimental work, a good knowledge of optics and electronics, and basic programming skills (Python is the standard language in our lab).
- An open mind and a multi-disciplinary attitude is a must.
- The research work will involve simulation (electromagnetic and circuits), chip design, chip assembly and building custom measurement setup.
- Chip fabrication will be based on existing processes executed in IMEC.
- This PhD project is part of the PhotonicSWARM project, a 5-year consolidator grant funded by the European Research Council (ERC).
- We offer you the opportunity to work in a large, multi-disciplinary research group that covers a broad spectrum from fundamental to very applied research in the field of integrated photonics.