Postdoctoral Researcher Tunable Integrated Photonics

16 March 2021

Design new optical MEMS devices and develop process flows.

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. Moreover, thermal phase shifting is about 5-10x less efficient in SiN than in Si. Phase shifters based on piezoelectric or electrostatic MEMS actuation are very promising for solving some of these limitations and pushing the PIC-based applications to the next level.

Context and description of the work

The work will leverage from existing know-how in this field by bringing together the advanced foundry-ready chip manufacturing capabilities of imec with the extensive knowledge in optical MEMS from the Photonics Group at Ghent University (in particular, the European Morphic project, together with EPFL and KTH). With this synergy, the aim of this work is to develop and implement a new set of tools/building blocks with processes 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.

The postdoc would be responsible for designing new optical MEMS devices in our Si and/or SiN platforms and develop the respective process flows. This would open an avenue for a standard offering of these types of devices in our established photonic platforms.


imec: Marcus Dahlem

Ghent University: Wim Bogaerts

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 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, '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 in Science or Engineering;
  • You are highly motivated and enthusiastic about the research topic;
  • You take initiative and work independently, 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).