2D sparse optical phased array for grating-lobe-free beam steering in LiDAR systems

Leuven - Master projects/internships
More than two weeks ago

Develop state-of-the-art solid-state optical beamforming chips for LiDAR applications in autonomous vehicles

Research in solid-state Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems has significantly grown over the last decade, mainly driven by the development of autonomous vehicles and robotic systems. LiDAR systems allow for 3D mapping of the environment, providing information on location, direction and velocity of objects. The principle of operation of a LiDAR (which operates in the visible or near-infrared domain) is similar to its more mature counterpart RADAR (which uses radio frequencies). One important building block in such systems is the optical beam scanner, which is used to illuminate the scenario or target being monitored. Most existing LiDAR solutions involve mechanical beam steering devices, making them bulky and costly. For a wide implementation of such technology in autonomous vehicles, future LiDAR systems will have to rely on more compact, cheaper and non-mechanical beamformers. The focus of this thesis project is to design, fabricate and characterize a chip-level beamformer (using imec’s Si/SiN platform) based on a 2D sparse optical phased array (OPA). The work will be developed in the Photonic Microsystems group at imec, which has extensive experience in developing photonic integrated circuits in Si/SiN.

The project includes the following tasks:
  • Modeling (in Matlab) of optical phased arrays, based on antenna theory
  • Design of a 2D sparse OPA and evaluation of its expected performance
  • Numerical simulations of grating-based antenna elements
  • Chip layout for tape-out
  • Optical characterization demonstrating beamforming (and eventually beam steering)

  • The candidate is expected to have a solid background in Applied Physics, Electrical Engineering, or Nanotechnology
  • Experience with Matlab and Lumerical (FDTD) is a plus
  • Some experience with optical laboratory equipment is desired
  • Strong English communication skills are required
  • Candidate should be self-motivated, responsible, independent and creative

Interested candidates should send a cover letter, academic transcript, CV and contacts of 3 references to Dr. Marcus Dahlem and Tangla Kongnyuy.





Type of project: Thesis

Required degree: Master of Science

Required background: Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Physics

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Marcus Dahlem (Marcus.Dahlem@imec.be) and Tangla David Kongnyuy (Tangla.David.Kongnyuy@imec.be)

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