Do you want to specialize and deepen in Integrated Circuits and mixed-signal design? Are you eager to electronically control light, like none before? Do you want to influence the next generation of FMCW LiDARs (Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave Light Detection and Ranging) devices and integrated-circuits? Do you want to closely collaborate with scientists from Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Denmark?
This exceptional opportunity presents a chance for us to explore the realm of electronically controlling massive arrays of small lasers that enable novel architectures of LiDAR transmitters. We shall investigate the challenges of 1) tunable lasers and designing of precision and high efficiency Digital-to-Analog converters for driving and controlling lasers that feature novel feedback loops for wavelength control and 2) massively integrating Digital-to-Analog converters onto a single chip, thereby generating control signals for photonic beamformers designed for FMCW LiDAR devices. In the course of this research, we may draw upon concepts from various fields, including phased arrays, digital Sigma-Delta (ΣΔ) modulation, digital signal processing (DSP), and power-efficient IC design. These two challenges create two PhD positions that you may help fill in! In this role, you will fuse your passion for analog and mixed-signal IC design with the latest advancements in data converters, sigma-delta and pulse-width modulation (PWM) techniques, as well as analog IC design. The fruits of your labor could potentially pave the way for breakthroughs in other applications that demand large arrays of data converters, such as wireless communication, UWB ranging and automotive radar.
It's worth noting that this research project forms a crucial part of a collaborative initiative within a pan-European research network called NiteLiDAR. We want to use the results of this research, together with our partners, to create innovative demonstrators for the next generation of LiDARs.
NiteLiDAR is open to researchers regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, political views, language, age and nationality. Applications from highly qualified applicants from outside the EU will thus be equally considered to other applicants. The integration of refugees is an EU priority and we will ensure equal opportunities to the researchers whose scientific careers have been interrupted. To ensure a gender balance in the project and work towards the Commission's own policies on narrowing the gap between the genders in research, should two applicants be found to be equally qualified the preference will be given to the one that will balance the gender distribution in the entire Network. After the deadline, all submitted applications will be checked against the defined admissibility and eligibility criteria (e.g. submitted electronically, readable, complete, in English, including grades and references), and applicants will be informed by email. The following interviews and selection process will be carried out by a temporary Selection Committee constituted by the Coordinator (when possible) and the supervisors. Evaluation criteria include: Scientific background, capacity for creativity and independent thinking and leadership, mentoring and presentation abilities.
The personal data of the applicants will be handled in compliance with applicable EU and national law on data protection (GDPR).Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
is an internationally oriented research university, specialized in engineering, science and technology. TU/e is known for its major scientific impact and development of technological innovations. Our university is at the heart of society: TU/e focuses on complex societal challenges by specifically targeting three Strategic Areas with education and research: Energy, Health, and Smart Mobility.
The Department of Electrical Engineering (EE) is one of the most successful departments in the Netherlands in the field of research in collaboration with industry. The department currently has approximately 1200 Bachelor and Master students and more than 300 PhD students.Responsibilities
There are two PhD positions, within the NiteLiDAR network, which you may consider via this application. The first one is on Integrated electronic circuits for laser driving and control, while the second one is on Arrays of unit Digital-to-Analog Converters interfaced to hundreds of optical phase shifters.
Integrated electronic circuits for laser driving and control (PhD 1)
You will be responsible for researching, developing and implementing key architectural and circuits related aspects for an integrated tuneable laser driver that maximizes power efficiency and enables accurate wavelength control. Furthermore, you will be responsible for designing, fabricating via IC foundry and characterizing experimentally a chip controlling the laser driver exploiting wavelength sensing and suitable algorithms, including AI. Finally, you will be responsible for designing, fabricating, and characterizing experimentally a chip enabling FMCW (15GHz) chirps, and which is able to interface the other two ICs designed in the IRP.
Thus, we actively search now for suitable candidates, who are eager to assume these responsibilities and answer key research questions, from an IC perspective, like:
- What should be the circuits of the laser driver, the feedback and control loops, and the FMCW chirp generation/driving, while all using a suitable CMOS technology available from commercial foundries, fabricated by the foundry, and experimentally characterized?
- How can we make a system demonstrator (including the tuneable laser source), built and experimentally characterized together with an integrated laser.
- Can we demonstrate capability to build a miniature tuneable laser source, based only on integrated components?
Array of D/A Converters to control beamformers (PhD 2)
You will be responsible for researching, developing and implementing key architectural and circuits related aspects for creating an array of unit Digital-to-Analog Converters interfaced to hundreds of optical phase shifters. The main goals of the research project include: a) developing an area efficient Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) unit to drive optical phase shifters; b) exploring the limits of DAC unit integration in a single IC; c) developing an ultra large IC array of numerous DAC units; d) interfacing the ultra large array of DAC units to optical phase-shifters.
Thus, we actively search now for suitable candidates, who are eager to assume responsibilities for answering key research questions, from an IC perspective, like:
- What will be an optimal architecture for a high-density array of DACs integrated on a single CMOS chip?
- How can we optimally use the array redundancy to improve efficiency of costs, like needed IC and power consumption? How can we use the properties of the application to improved the efficiency of our circuits?
- What are the limits for co-integrating data converters?
- How can we measure and characterize structures with massive flow of information?
The PhD research needs to be concluded in 4 years. A possible work plan with milestones can be:
- Year 1: Secondments in partners to study the challenges of co-integrating photonic with electronic ICs; optimal co-design of the driver and laser (PhD 1); co-design of the optical phase-shifting and DAC elements for optimal integration in commercial CMOS technologies together with our partners from Denmark (PhD 2);
- Year 2: design and fabrication of an IC test chip featuring a novel array of DAC units or drivers;
- Year 3-4: Design and fabrication of test Printed-Circuit-Board (PCB) to characterize the test chips; Measurements for LiDAR beamforming.
- Year 4: PhD thesis and defense.