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PhD position - Multi-color lasers for mm-wave all-optical processing applications

PhD position - Multi-color lasers for mm-wave all-optical processing applications

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) invites applications for outstanding PhD candidates in the field of photonics engineering.

Multi-color lasers, i.e., lasers with the capability to emit simultaneously at multiple wavelengths, open exciting perspectives for a wide range of applications, from optical sensing to data-communication or mm-wave and THz all-optical processing. Combined with the outstanding and continuous progress of generic foundry platforms making Photonic Integrated Circuits (PIC) widely available, it is now possible to design multi-color lasers specifically tailored for various applications. The main bottleneck of this development is the difficulty to finely control multi-color lasers. In short, depending on the internal mechanism, these lasers can either be versatile but extremely sensitive, or robust but without any practical control parameter. Yet, we recently proposed a new technique based on phase-controlled optical feedback which showed great promises. We were able to induce a complete wavelength switch in a two-color laser with a suppression ratio up to 50 dB. Moreover, the feedback cavity can be monolithically integrated on the same chip as the laser, hence ensuring a low footprint of the complete system.

Position Description

Now, in the frame of a Starting Grant from the European Research Council: ERC-StG-2020 project COLOR’UP, we want to focus on the dynamics of multi-color lasers and investigate how they could be exploited for processing exploited for all-optical processing of mm-wave and THz signals. In this context, we are looking for an excellent PhD candidate in photonics (duration = 48 months) to join our team. The research work will therefore include:

  • Design and simulation of novel multi-color laser structures compatible with the constraints of the generic foundry platform
  • Testing, validation, and detailed characterization of the photonic ICs (PICs)
  • Development of new solutions to improve the current feedback-based control technique to achieve complete and precise control of multi-color lasers.
  • Investigations of the impact of feedback on the laser dynamics and mode competition.
  • Identification of processing capabilities and development of a demonstrator.

The candidate will join the Brussels Photonics (B-PHOT) research group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium, Chaired by Prof. H. Thienpont, the team composed of more than 45 internationally recognized researchers is widely known for its work in fundamental and applied photonics research covering the entire research cycle from modelling and fabrication, to characterization and Proof-Of-Concept. In the last 20 years, the group has built significant expertise in the field of semiconductor laser – including modelling, design and on-chip implementation of new laser structures – but also in nonlinear dynamics and chaos-based applications. The candidate will therefore have the opportunity to contribute to the field in a vivid and fruitful environment.

For more information, please contact Prof. M. Virte ( or Dr. P. Marin-Palomo (


  • Candidates should possess a master’s degree in Physics, Engineering, Applied Math or a related scientific field.
  • Knowledge about photonics, photonic integration, chaos theory, laser physics, nonlinear dynamics or signal processing is strongly preferred.
  • Good programming skills are required. Experience with Matlab, Scilab, R, Python or a similar language and environment is a strong plus.
  • Good knowledge of numerical techniques and advanced simulation methods is a strong plus.
  • Knowledge of photonic circuit simulation tools such as Lumerical FDTD and Interconnect or Photon Design OmniSim and PICWave is a plus.
  • Experience with experimental optical setup and equipment such as optical spectrum analysers, laser drivers or amplifiers is a plus.
  • The candidate is expected to be able to carry out the research activities independently and in a critical manner, whilst having excellent communication skills and a positive attitude towards collaboration.
  • Good time management skills are a must, along with the ability to meet tight deadlines and work efficiently under pressure.
  • Proficiency in both spoken and written English (typically CEFR level C1 or equivalent) is required. The candidate will have the opportunity to take evening English classes to improve his/her language skills if needed.
  • The candidates should be prepared to travel in Europe and potentially worldwide e.g. for participation in conferences or research stays at partner institutions.

Candidates that have not yet acquired their master’s degree can apply and participate in the selection procedure, but need to offer proof of registration in their Masters programme and need to have complied with all diploma requirements before starting their position at VUB.


The work location will be the VUB Humanities, Science and Engineering campus, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium which is easily accessible by public transports, bike or car.

At VUB, your days will be spent in a dynamic, diverse and multilingual environment. Our main campus is set within green oases on the outskirts of the centre of the capital of Flanders, Belgium and Europe. This centre, with all its opportunities, is within your reach by public transport in under half an hour. As an employee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, you will receive an attractive salary corresponding to one of the pay scales laid down by the government, depending on your experience and academic merits. Hospitalisation insurance and free use of public transport for travel to and from work are standard conditions of employment. If you would rather cycle to work, compensation is also available for that.

More information about working at VUB.


To apply, please send your detailed CV (including a copy of the Master diploma and a Transcript of records), letters of recommendation, any supporting documents demonstrating technical skills (theses or scientific papers), and an application letter to Prof. M. Virte ( by e-mail before May 15th, 2021.

The selection process will take place in two steps:

First, the file of each applicant will be carefully screened and reviewed. Well-suited candidates will be selected on this basis. If your application is selected based on the CV and accompanying documents, you will be invited for a teleconference interview and online tests.

Second, selected candidates will be invited to a teleconference interview during which they will be asked a broad set of technical and non-technical questions.

Finally, all retained candidates will be ranked based on their academic records and their interview, and the candidate ranked 1st will be offered the position.

If no suitable candidate has been found after the deadline, the position will remain open until it is filled.

Deadline: May 15th, 2021


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