PhD on Photonic Integrated Synapses for Unconventional Optical Computing

PhD on Photonic Integrated Synapses for Unconventional Optical Computing

Published Deadline Location
30 Nov 24 Dec Eindhoven

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The Eindhoven University of Technology has a vacancy for 1 PhD student to work over 4 years on “Photonic Integrated Synapses for unconventional computing” within the Photonic Neural Network LAB in the Electro-Optical Communication Systems (ECO) group of the department of Electrical Engineering.

Job description

We are seeking a highly skilled and motivated candidate to investigate and implement unconventional integrated platforms to implement spiking neural networks that rely on fast gain dynamics. Concepts of the in-memory computing will also be investigated and developed for this same platform and for the first time. This PhD research is strongly simulation, fabrication and characterization oriented and will lead to high impact results in the domain of optical self-learning.

Research challenges

You will be working within the newly granted Photon Delta National Growth Fund investment. See here for more information: Within this extensive project framework, we will focus on mapping neural network models on free-space-optics setup for frontier neural network research and accelerators, as well as - as addressed in this position - miniaturize these concepts in photonic integrated chips. The project is also among the first one to suggest an unconventional platform to enable self-sustained spikes for lossless spiking neural networks. This research is strongly fabrication -oriented and will enable a whole new class of spiking neural networks, which could lead to highly efficient adaptive optical engines.

Photonics can play an important role in computation by designing and developing compact, energy-efficient, low latency and high-capacity computing engines. Several on-chip computing paradigms have already been proposed based on the use of light, but scalability is still a problem. A different approach needs to be explored and realized in this program. Within this project, the Photonic Neural Network Lab within the ECO group at TU/e aims to use straight-forward deposition techniques for interfacing gain-materials to photonic integrated waveguides and push their co-integration. Different materials and ligands will be explored in collaboration with the chemistry department to augment the system of brain-inspired functionalities, for the first self-sustainable spiking systems.

In this research program, the PhD student will explore the co-integration of gain layers on photonic integration platforms, for the implementation of miniaturized optical engines and of the first self-sustained spiking mechanisms. He/She will implement novel memory mechanisms, and push compactness of the structure that still allow self-sustainability. Will investigate scalability and benchmark with state-of-the-art AI chips. This research will enable a whole new class of self-reconfigurable photonic devices, which will lead to highly efficient parallel optical processing engines and high impact journals.

The team

The PhD position is based within the Electro-Optical Communication Systems (ECO) group, which is part of the Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute (EHCI) and of the Eindhoven AI System Institute (EAISI). The ECO group has about 73 members, 55 of which are PhD students and PDs, and 18 are staff members, focusing on photonic technology for communication and computation.

The EHCI has five dynamic and ambitious research groups, which are closely cooperating: a systems group, a photonic integration technology group and three materials research groups, with a predominant focus on neuromorphic and quantum computing is the ideal ecosystem where to develop this research. The EAISI brings together all AI activities of the TU/e. Top researchers from various departments and research groups work together to create new and exciting AI applications directly impacting the real world in collaboration with representatives from the industry.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


Candidates for this challenging project must:
  • Hold a Master within Electrical Engineering or Applied Physics or on Photonics;
  • Has a strong background in photonics and integrated photonics;
  • Has experience with photonic integrated device fabrication;
  • Has a background in semiconductor devices and general knowledge about semiconductor physics, modelling, and component design and in system integration;
  • Is familiar with optical and electronic laboratory measurement equipment;
  • Is capable of taking initiatives and has a strong problem solving attitude;

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V36.7112


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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