Electro-optically activated waveguides for Augmented Reality by Nano-Imprint Lithography

Leuven - PhD
More than two weeks ago

Boost the Augmented Reality experience by switchable and efficient optical waveguides using Nano-Imprint Lithography


Augmented Reality (AR) glasses and headsets seamlessly superpose computer-generated information on the vision of the world around us. With countless potential applications, AR will revolutionize the way we interact with our environment. The realization of high-quality, low-power, easy-to-wear AR glasses still requires many innovative solutions. Today, the efficiency of the optical waveguide that is used to guide light from the projecting display to the eye is a critical bottleneck.

An important technology for the realization of thin, miniaturized optical elements is Nano-Imprint Lithography (NIL). This low-cost, high throughput technique is ideally suited for the high-fidelity replication of sub-wavelength features with high aspect ratio at industrial scale. It finds use in the creation of diffractive as well as refractive optical elements. Little effort, however, has been done so far to integrate NIL with other microfabrication techniques that are common in a CMOS photonic platform. Such integration is desirable to leverage the potential of NIL for fabricating large area optical elements with the control offered by photonic technologies.      

The ambition of this PhD topic is to bring innovative solutions to increase the efficiency of optical waveguides. The candidate will perform research in the fields of optics, materials and process technologies. His/her principal research subject will be the fabrication and the characterization of nanostructured electro-optical elements with NIL, targeting an increase in light transmission efficiency of optical waveguides applicable to AR glasses. He/she will be working in the nanofabrication facilities in the imec cleanrooms, in particular on the NIL platform. As such a work cannot be performed alone, the PhD candidate will be part of a team focusing on NIL integration with CMOS technologies for optical applications. The team will provide expertise in design and fabrication. Also, the candidate will be able to rely on a wide range of processing and analysis tools in our state-of-the-art 200mm and 300mm cleanroom facilities and associated laboratories and technical support. 

Required background: Nano-science and nano-technology, physics, or material science

Type of work: 15% literature, 45% experimental work, 40% characterization (metrology, optical and electrical)

Supervisor: Paul Heremans

Daily advisor: Cedric Rolin, Robert Gehlhaar

The reference code for this position is 2020-111. Mention this reference code on your application form.
Chinese nationals who wish to apply for the CSC scholarship, should use the following code when applying for this topic: CSC2020-60.


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