/Acoustic meta-surfaces, from ultrasound to phonons

Acoustic meta-surfaces, from ultrasound to phonons

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Manipulating acoustic waves and phonons on-chip by designing surfaces beyond their natural material properties opens perspective towards advanced acoustic tweezing as well as chip cooling

Phononics, the science of generating and/or processing acoustic waves on a micrometer-scale, e.g., ultrasound or hypersound, is enabling evermore applications, including acoustic tweezing, ultrasonography, cooling, cell sorting, focused ultrasound treatment and integrated clocks. Recent progress in micro-fabrication now allows the production of large-scale micromachined ultrasound transducer (MUT) arrays on wafer-scale with CMOS-compatible processes, providing cost-effective high-quality ultrasound systems. Imec already developed state-of-the-art CMOS-MUT platforms that allow production of complex ultrasound systems. Imec further develops plate-based MUT platforms for even larger scale system definition. However, these approaches rely on direct drive and readout of the acoustic waves by local coupling to support electronics. These implementations do not scale well towards THz acoustics, the acoustic regime where heat can be manipulated or where deep sub-micron imaging can be performed.

This PhD will tackle the development of integrated tunable diffractive acoustic elements and acoustic meta-surfaces. These will be used for example to shape variable acoustic holograms by the definition of tunable acoustic phase plates or to route surface acoustic waves on-chip. While concepts will be demonstrated at low frequencies (MHz-GHz), the goal of the PhD is to port these developments towards THz phonon domain, taking advantage of advanced lithography available at imec, e.g., nano-imprint lithography.


The ideal candidate should have:

  • an understanding of linear acoustics
  • a good understanding of numerical methods and programming
  • solid knowledge of ultrasound transducer devices and technology
  • experience with acoustic experiments

Required background: Engineering Science

Type of work: 40% modeling/simulation, 40% experimental, 20% literature

Supervisor: Pol Van Dorpe

Co-supervisor: Xavier Rottenberg

Daily advisor: Veronique Rochus

The reference code for this position is 2022-099. Mention this reference code on your application form.