PhD researcher on exploring pixels for the future mobile phone

Leuven - PhD
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More than two weeks ago
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The main driver of todays’ electronics industry is the mobile platform.  Mobile phones and tablets have brought a wealth of applications and services to the mass market, a new experience which is transforming our economy as well as the way we socially interact.  This revolution is far from over and new technologies are being introduced continuously to enhance the capabilities. Vision is a key component in man-machine interactions and ever more image sensors are being integrated into our smartphones.  Imec is setting up a large research program to investigate the future needs of consumer image sensor technologies and is ideally positioned to understand the challenges, invent relevant solutions and realize highly sophisticated implementations using our world class nanoelectronics R&D facility.

The workhorse of today’s CMOS Image Sensor technology is the so-called 4T pixel.  At its heart reside highly specialized semiconductor components such as the pinned photodiode and transfer gate, which are essential to reach low dark current and noise.  Continued development over the past 15 years has perfectioned this technology and state-of-the-art imagers operate in the photon shot-noise limit, the theoretical limit of classical photography.  Unfortunately, the small apertures required in mobile phones limit the amount of light entering the camera.  This problem cannot be remedied by larger exposure times due to motion blur and new pixel technologies are required to overcome the current limitations.  Building on our 30+ years of experience building CMOS imagers, imec strives to be at the forefront these new developments.

Imec is soliciting enthusiastic PhD candidates to acquire and extend the state-of-the-art in CMOS image sensors.  The goal of this PhD is to develop pixel devices and technologies to advance next generation consumer image sensors.  A thorough literature study will be a first step to investigate different device concepts, explore their limits and potential and identify promising new avenues.  Following steps will be the design and validation of these new devices using TCAD, layout of test structures, implementation of the device into imec imager platforms in collaboration with our technology experts, development of the required measurement techniques and the characterization of the fabricated devices. 

Required background: electrical engineering, material science, solid-state physics, or related

Type of work: 15% literature, 45% technology study, 40% experimental work

Supervisor: Chris Van Hoof

Daily advisor: Maarten Rosmeulen

The reference code for this PhD position is SE1712-30. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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