/Postdoctoral Researcher Integrated Quantum Photonics

Postdoctoral Researcher Integrated Quantum Photonics

Research & development - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Be a frontrunner in enabling medium-to-large scale quantum photonics applications by enhancing imec’s integrated photonics platforms

Postdoctoral Researcher Integrated quantum photonics

What you will do

Quantum photonics is proposed as a vital, enabling technology for such disruptive concepts as an unbreakable quantum internet [1], and, more realistically, distributed sensor networks [2,3] and quantum enhanced sensing protocols [4]. For quantum photonics to progress from lab-based, proof-of-principle experiments to real life applications, aspects of integration (for scale-up, as well as realistic levels of control in non-lab environments) will need to be tackled. In some sense, this mimics evolutions in classical photonics, where integration has led to major breakthroughs in the past two decades. While photonics benefits from an inherent ‘quantum’ protection against noise by virtue of the energy scales involved (eV photons, meV noise), the difficulty of making photons to interact and to store them also limit the scope several quantum applications.

At imec, we offer some of the best integrated photonics technology suites in the world, both in the visible (SiN based) and NIR/telecoms regime (Si photonics). In this postdoc, you will investigate and develop some of the missing links in our photonics portfolio to make it fully compatible with quantum applications. You will be embedded in several ongoing collaborative quantum photonics projects that have an innate need for *integrated* quantum photonics:

  • Memoryless quantum repeaters: to distribute (entangled) quantum states in a lossy environment, dedicated machinery is needed to accommodate the losses and enhance the likelihood of success. One approach, which has been the subject of two decades of research, is a form of buffering involving quantum memories – which in itself is non-trivial and opens the system up to noise. Alternatively, forms of redundancy can be used in combination with fast quantum switches and buffering – to reroute the information on the fly: the so-called memoryless repeater [5,6]. Imec has, in principle, the necessary technologies available for such an approach, and is embedded in several project proposals in this space, ensuring the necessary links to be successful. However, demonstrating full capability is non-trivial, and you will be expected to contributed significantly to this task
  • Linear optics quantum circuits [7]: the combination of linear optical elements such as interferometers, beamsplitters and number-resolving detectors, on chip, with weak (quantum) light sources allows for elementary quantum ‘processors’ to be realized. Such small-scale processors can be used for on-chip quantum sensing and certain forms of key distribution. Also, in principle, they can be scaled up to much larger dimensions. Imec has some of the best, classical, integrated photonics platforms, yet in order to push the frontier of quantum photonics, different specs and characteristics need to be obtained. You will help identifying these missing links, design improved photonic quantum circuits and will be in charge of setting up novel measurement methodologies to characterize them.In addition, you will act as interface to the integration teams and guide them in developing new building blocks,

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 salary with many fringe benefits. 

Who you are

  • You have a Ph.D. degree in Photonics, Physics, Applied Physics, Electrical engineering and the like, with a solid grasp of both integrated photonics and applied quantum mechanics
  • We need your experience with (silicon) integrated photonics design, layout and measurement, as well as solid experimental skills
  • We are looking for a hands-on, can-do attitude with solid experience in setting up new tools, setups, even laboratories
  • Active, hands-on experience with quantum photonics is highly recommended. Deep theoretical understanding of what is and is not feasible in quantum photonics is major plus.
  • We are looking for a good team player and your ability to work on your own

    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).


    [1] HJ. Kimble, the quantum internet, Nature 453, 1023 (2008)
    [2] P. Komar et al, a quantum network of clocks, Nature Physics 10, 582 (2014)
    [3] E. Khabiboulline et al, optical interferometry with quantum networks, Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 070504 (2019)
    [4] J. Aasi et al, Enhanced sensitivity of the LIGO gravitational wave detector by using squeezed states of light,  Nature Photonics 7, 613 (2013)
    [5] K. Azuma et al., All-photonics quantum repeaters. Nat. Comms. 6, 6787 (2015)
    [6] Y. Hasegawa et al., Experimental time-reversed adaptive Bell measurement towards all-photonic quantum repeaters, Nat. Comms. 10, 378 (2019)
    [7] j. Carolan et al, Universal linear optics. Science 349, 711 (2015)
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