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Photonics sensing platform using silicon waveguides at long wavelengths

Tyndall National Institute
Cork, Country: Ireland
Job Type:
full-time, contract
Job Description

PMO-15C - PhD Studentship in Photonics sensing platform using silicon waveguides at long wavelengths

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term

We have 1 prestigious PIADS PhD position available that will commence in September 2020. Students will join a vibrant and well-established Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) hosted by IPIC (the Irish Photonics Integration Centre) in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), and in partnership with Queens University Belfast and the University of Glasgow. Graduating PIADS doctoral students are equipped with the high level scientific and engineering research skills needed to address the challenges of developing new integrated photonic technologies for diverse applications as well as with the entrepreneurial, leadership and teamwork capabilities needed to lead and operate at the highest levels in industry. The programme is a gateway to a vast array of career paths from data storage, semiconductors, telecommunications, biophotonics and medical technologies and more. CDT students can progress into a range of research and development, technical and management roles in industry or academia.

The ROI students will be based at one of the IPIC academic partners, including Tyndall National Institute, Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork, and will have access to an advanced structured training programme, to world class facilities and academic expertise that spans the partners above and University of Glasgow and Queen's University in Belfast. This includes a bespoke week long induction programme with students from all three partners, an annual Winter School and access to advanced training courses in areas such as semiconductor fabrication, packaging, biophotonics and entrepreneurship. In addition IPIC and PIADS have many industry partners that will open up research and career opportunities.


The realisation of photonic integrated circuits akin to electronic circuits is now upon us with enormous potential to enable new applications in sensing, communications, artificial intelligence and computing including quantum. This is due to the unique properties of light when compared with electronics which include – 200 THz bandwidth, wavelength division multiplexing, lack of electromagnetic interference thereby enabling enormous bandwidth though a pipe of selected dimension.

Silicon has emerged as the integration platform for photonic integrated circuits. To date, the focus has been on wavelengths around 1300nm and 1550nm for applications in data communications and particularly in the emerging data centre market. However, silicon is transparent at longer wavelengths and can act as a compact waveguide. In particular, the wavelength range from 1550nm to 2500nm is suitable for sensing of both biological species and environmental gases as well as being a new wavelength band for data communications. The wavelength can be further extended by utilising germanium on insulator. Furthermore, IPIC has previously developed the most advanced photonic components for this wavelength range including lasers, modulators, detectors and multiplexers. Potential implementations may also utilise Si waveguides as nonlinear elements for multi-wavelength interrogation.

The objective for the PhD student is to design and develop the waveguide platform, to demonstrate the integration of active and passive components and to test the functionality of the integrated for a sensing application. This will be the first time that such integration will have been demonstrated in this wavelength band.

The work extends that already taking place in IPIC at other wavelengths and so the essential infrastructure is in place.

IPIC has already gained a significant worldwide position in devices and systems at 2 microns. Current work in this wavelength range includes comb generation and the development of low noise photodetectors. We are currently advancing the material epitaxy processes for these materials. Our partners have indicated their desire to move into this wavelength range.

To be most successful this project needs the collaboration of the IPIC experts in SOI technology (W. Whelan Curtin), design of advanced waveguide function (F. Peters) and materials (E. Pelucchi). The integrated devices will be applicable to both the communications theme and to the biophotonics theme (sensing), for example CO2 sensing in pre-term infants. The devices should integrate with the packaging theme though both the fluidic platform demonstrated and the local thermal control possible through the integrated thermoelectrics under development there.

Supervisors: Fatima Gunning, Brian Corbett

An annual student stipend of €18,500 applies for this successful candidate for this position. Yearly University academic fees and bursary for training will paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

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Company: Tyndall National Institute
Company size: 1-49
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