The pivotal impact of the electronics industry on our modern way of life is beyond doubt and has mainly occurred through the realization of telecommunication systems and automation of processes in production and services. The rapid development of machine vision systems brings a new revolution in autonomous systems and its subsequent proliferation into the consumer electronics space. Self-driving cars, augmented reality and face or gesture recognition are just a few of the countless applications. Quintessential to this development is the realization of suitable, robust and cost effective image sensors. Imec is setting up a large program to realize this potential and is ideally positioned to bring together all the essential ingredients including system modeling, circuit design, optics and advanced imaging and detector manufacturing.
Vision arises from the interplay of two foundational components: Sensing of the light originating from an object and the illumination of the object itself. Reliable and reproducible machine vision therefore requires controlled illumination, which is best done at infrared wavelengths that are non-intrusive to humans sharing the same space. In addition, infrared wavelengths bring additional sensing modalities not available in the visible range of the spectrum. Unfortunately, standard CMOS image sensors rely on inter-band optical transitions in Silicon, which limits the sensitivity to the visible and near infrared regions only. Alternative semiconductor materials exist that are infrared sensitive, but leave much to wish for in terms of resolution and cost. Building on our 30+ years of experience building image sensors, imec strives to expand its capability to develop and integrate solid-state infrared sensitive devices for future machine vision applications.
Imec is soliciting enthusiastic PhD candidates to acquire and extend the state-of-the-art in critical competencies underpinning a coming revolution in consumer machine vision. The goal of this PhD is to develop next generation infrared sensitive solid-state detectors and imagers. A thorough literature study will be a first step to investigate different device concepts, explore their limits and potential and identify promising new avenues. Following steps will be the design and validation of these new devices using TCAD, layout of test structures, implementation of the device into existing imec imager platforms in collaboration with our technology experts, development of the required measurement techniques and the characterization of the fabricated devices.
Required background: electrical engineering, material science, solid-state physics, or related
Type of work: 15% literature, 45% technology study, 40% experimental work
Supervisor: Chris van Hoof
Daily advisor: Maarten Rosmeulen
The reference code for this PhD position is SE1712-31. Mention this reference code on your application form.