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/Job opportunities/Optical design for high-resolution imagers

Optical design for high-resolution imagers

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Design and characterization of nanostructures for optical imagers at the diffraction limit


Optical imagers have become an everyday commodity over the years as smartphone users possess several of them implemented in their devices. Furthermore, in other domains imagers play a major role as in machine vision for in-line sorting or in autonomous vehicles. In many of these applications, the information to be collected by an imager goes far beyond a simple two-dimensional RGB image. Besides the spectral content of light, also its specific polarization state contains useful information. Therefore, novel advanced imagers are being investigated to record more information than merely the color of a scene, and this with high speed and extremely high spatial resolution.

Within this PhD, we address many of these features by developing imagers beyond the state of the art. It is our target to record data and images close to the diffraction limit with high speed, and broad spectral and high polarization sensitivity while keeping optical losses at a minimum. Within this multi-stage effort, this thesis is focusing on the optical part of the imager, specifically on the optical design and characterization of nanostructured light directors and absorbers.


This PhD consists of two parts: optical simulation and characterization. In the first part, we define the relevant target parameters to ensure an efficient development process. You will perform optical modelling using ray tracing, finite difference time domain and other methods to develop and optimize optical nanostructures and full devices.

Selected structures are going to be fabricated by our teams in 200mm and 300mm clean room facilities according to the specifications based on your simulations results.

In the second part, you build and use optical setups for the characterization of the test structures. Starting from existing optical systems in our labs and in labs nearby at the university (KU Leuven), you evaluate imagers and parts of imagers concerning their optical and electro-optical response to determine their capabilities for advanced spectral, polarization and temporal resolution. It is our goal to apply the results in imagers with recording element dimensions below the wavelength of light.

At all stages of the work you can rely on the support of our highly skilled team of engineers and scientists.

The candidate

You have recently finished your studies with a master’s degree in physics, optics, electrical engineering, nano-engineering, material science, or related. You are highly motivated to dive with us into the world of imager scaling to record more information with ever smaller devices. You are an enthusiast in optics that is eager to use his/her creativity in optical modeling and is also a hands-on person in optical labs. Ideally, you have already experience with ZEMAX, LUMERICAL and/or COMSOL Multiphysics. You are a team player and have good communication skills as you will work in a multidisciplinary and multicultural team spanning several imec departments. You have the chance to regularly present your results thus getting guidance and feedback from our team. Given the international character of imec, an excellent knowledge of English is a must.

Required background: physics, optics, design, electronics

Type of work: 10% literature study, 10% system design, 40% modeling, 40% experimental

Supervisor: Jan Genoe

Co-supervisor: Xavier Rottenberg

Daily advisor: Robert Gehlhaar, Bruno Figeys

The reference code for this position is 2021-102. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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