/Postdoctoral Researcher: Advanced phase shifters for next generation integrated photonics

Postdoctoral Researcher: Advanced phase shifters for next generation integrated photonics

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Develop and implement a new set of active acousto-optic PIC components in the SiN platform

Postdoctoral Researcher: Advanced phase shifters for next generation integrated photonics

What you will do

Background and motivation
Reconfigurable photonic devices are essential building blocks in modern photonic integrated circuits (PICs). They can enable functionalities such as optical switching and routing, solid-state beam steering, optical filtering, and neuromorphic computing. A key feature in such optical circuits is the possibility of tuning and switching their response by controlling the effective refractive index (or phase) of the propagating light. The most common way to implement these phase shifters is through the thermo-optic effect, which has been widely explored in different photonic platforms. Devices based on thermal tuning are currently available as standard modules in multi-project wafer (MPW) and client-based fabrication runs at imec (both in Si and SiN). This approach is mature and has its own merits and strengths. However, the increasing complexity of PICs requires low-power and low-loss phase shifting elements in order to meet the optical and electrical power budgets, as well as thermal dissipation constraints. On the other hand, integrated acousto-optic interactions have recently shown great promise to overcome the limitations of thermal phase shifters. In particular, AlN-based high-overtone bulk acoustic wave resonators (HBARs) are interesting since they provide a CMOS-compatible route to enable low-power, low-loss and high speed (up to GHz) phase-shifters when combined with passive Si or SiN PICs. Additionally, modulators based on the acousto-optic effect can offer much higher extinction ratios and allow pure single-sideband modulation, which are two advantages compared to their electro-optic counterparts. These acousto-optic devices could serve many application areas, such as LiDAR, holography, life science, microwave photonics and quantum computing.

Context and description of the work

The work will leverage existing know-how in this field by bringing together the advanced foundry-ready chip manufacturing capabilities of imec in both SiN photonics and AlN ultrasound transducer technology.
The postdoc will be responsible for designing novel integrated acousto-optic components that are complementary to current state-of-the-art MEMS devices and leverage the potential of integrated HBAR devices. Moreover, the postdoc will be in charge for the development of the respective process flows and characterization of the fabricated devices. 
The aim of this work is to develop and implement a new set of active acousto-optic PIC components in the SiN platform, that can be transferred to imec’s pilot lines and/or external partner foundries. The technology could then be made available to future clients as a standard module in the Si or SiN platforms. This would open an avenue for a standard offering of these types of devices in our established photonic platforms.


imec: Marcus Dahlem & Frederic Peyskens

What we do for you

We offer you the opportunity to join one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology at its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. With your talent, passion and expertise, you’ll become part of a team that makes the impossible possible. Together, we shape the technology that will determine the society of tomorrow.

We are committed to being an inclusive employer and proud of our open, multicultural, and informal working environment with ample possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process; not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through imec.academy, 'our corporate university', we actively invest in your development to further your technical and personal growth. 

We are aware that your valuable contribution makes imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of a competitive scholarship.

Who you are

  • You have a PhD in photonics, electronics or related field
  • You have extended experience with advanced electromagnetic simulations in Lumerical, COMSOL or related software
  • You have experience with optical characterization of integrated photonics devices
  • Knowledge of advanced semiconductor manufacturing for photonics is a plus
  • You are highly motivated and enthusiastic about the research topic;
  • You take initiative and work on your own, while being part of a team;
  • You are able to schedule your work according to project deadlines and deliverables;
  • You have excellent written and oral communication skills in English with an outstanding track record of journal publications and presentations at international conferences;

As a postdoc researcher you will receive training, coaching and networking opportunities to become a recognized international expert in the field. 

This postdoctoral position is funded by imec through KU Leuven. Because of the specific financing statute which targets international mobility for postdocs, only candidates who did not stay or work/study in Belgium for more than 24 months in the past 3 years can be considered for the position (short stays such as holiday, participation in conferences, etc. are not taken into account).