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PhD position on 'Massive Local Tuning of Photonics ICs' - Belgium  

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Posted on : 01 May 2017

Project Description

Description:
  • 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.