/Large-scale Integrated UV waveguide platform enabled by Nano-Imprint-Lithography (NIL)

Large-scale Integrated UV waveguide platform enabled by Nano-Imprint-Lithography (NIL)

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

You will develop an integrated photonics platform reaching through the visible to the UV for deep-tech applications ranging from quantum computation to proteomics

Nano-Imprint Lithography (NIL) has been widely used for large-scale, cost-effective fabrication of flat- and integrated optical applications. The ability to replicate high-resolution nanoscale features at low cost and high throughput makes NIL an excellent candidate for manufacturing Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). Moreover, NIL offers the possibility of imprinting multi-level devices in a single imprint step when the resin material can serve as the active device layer. As such, complex devices with multi-level topography such as grating couplers (multi-depth, slanted, blazed, etc...) and mode converters could be realized with a much-simplified process flow. Finally, the ability of NIL to produce these features in polymer materials open the door to novel material system optimizations, in particular towards wavelength ranges, e.g., ultraviolet, where standard photonic materials suffer from large absorption or drift.

Imec has a long-standing track record for the design and fabrication of PICs in different mature platforms such as Silicon (NIR) and Silicon Nitride (VIS/NIR). These platforms are used for a wide variety of applications such as telecommunication, on-chip communication, optical beam-forming, LiDAR, bio/ chemical sensing and AR/VR. Building onto this expertise, in this project cost-effective fabrication methods based on NIL will be investigated for PIC applications in the UV, e.g., gas sensing, quantum information theory processors, molecular analysis and proteomics.

The purpose of this PhD is to develop and demonstrate a NIL-based process flow for UV waveguides and extended UV PICs. The focus of the project will be on enabling the access to the UV regime using novel materials like acrylates with cost-effective manufacturing processes as it is expected that direct imprint of UV transparent resins is the highly promising route in this respect. Existing candidate resins, commercially available, have already been identified but need thorough screening and further process development to ensure proper waveguide performance. Designs of single-mode waveguides and standard components, e.g., couplers and interferometers, will need to be tuned and compensated to enable their proper NIL realization. All these developments will be key elements of the PhD and will be enabled in the state-of-the-art cleanroom facility available at imec. Characterization of produced devices and components will take place in the photonics laboratories at imec and associated labs.

The candidate

You are a highly motivated student, with background in nano-engineering, physics, material science, electrical engineering, or related. You have an interest in nanofabrication and PICs, both from design and characterization side. It is expected that you will present results regularly. You are a team player and have good communication skills as you will work in a multidisciplinary and multicultural team spanning several imec departments. Given the international character of imec, an excellent knowledge of English is a must.

Required background: Nano-engineering, Physics, Materials Science or Electrical Engineering

Type of work: 10% literature study, 20% modeling, 20% design, 30% fabrication, 20% characterization

Supervisor: Jan Genoe

Daily advisor: Kristof Lodewijks, Bruno Figeys

The reference code for this position is 2023-131. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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