PhD student position in Photonics: Design and demonstration of next generation optical fibre sensor interrogation systems based on semiconductor laser dynamics in photonic integrated circuits

This job offer has expired

    Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/03/2019 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Belgium › Brussels

Optical fibre sensors are traditionally interrogated by measuring changes in their reflection spectrum. In the FIONA project, funded by the Research Foundation Flanders, we want to investigate a radically new approach taking advantage of the high sensitivity of laser diodes to external perturbations. Optical feedback, i.e. reflecting light back into the laser with a time-delay, is known for triggering a wide variety of complex dynamical behaviour in the laser ranging from simple oscillations to chaos. In practice, the laser response strongly depends on the specific features of the reflected light. Thus, using the narrow-band reflection of a fibre sensor instead of a traditional mirror will link the laser behaviour to the properties of the fibre sensor. In this project, we want to harness and exploit this link to achieve an unprecedented level of sensitivity for the fibre sensor system. Moreover, we want to miniaturize the complete interrogation system on a single photonic integrated circuit without sacrificing sensitivity and measurement speed.

The PhD candidate will join the Brussels Photonics(B-PHOT) research group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Belgium. Brussels Photonics is composed of more than 45 internationally recognized researchers and is widely known for its work in fundamental, applied and industrial photonics research. Over the last 20 years, Brussels Photonics has built up a significant expertise in both fibre sensing and semiconductor lasers.

We are looking for an excellent PhD candidate in Photonics (duration = 48 months) to join our team:

  • Design of the experimental fibre sensor set-ups.
  • Experimental investigation of the dynamical behaviour of the semiconductor laser triggered by the fibre sensor feedback.
  • Development of theoretical framework for narrow-band time-delayed feedback into semiconductor lasers.
  • Implementation of numerical processing techniques for extracting a fibre sensor read-out based on the laser output.
  • Optimization of the fibre sensor itself to induce the strongest and most reliable effects within the proposed interrogation approach.
  • Design and demonstration of an optimized fully integrated Proof-Of-Concept interrogation system.

Starting date: Between May and August 2019.

To apply, please send your detailed CV (including a copy of the Master diploma + a transcript of records), letters of recommendation, any supporting documents demonstrating technical skills (thesis or scientific paper) and an application letter to Prof. Thomas Geernaert (thomas.geernaert@vub.be) or Prof. Martin Virte (martin.virte@vub.be) by e-mail before 15th March 2019.

If your application is selected based on the CV and accompanying documents, you will be invited for a teleconference interview and online tests.





The work location will be the VUB Humanities, Science and Engineering campus in Brussels which is easily accessible by public transports, bike or car. Part of the work will also be carried out at the VUB Photonics campus outside Brussels.

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 is available at www.vub.ac.be under the heading ‘future employees’.


Eligibility criteria

This position is not subject to any restriction linked to the citizenship of the applicant.


Selection process

If your application is selected based on the CV and accompanying documents, you will be invited for a teleconference interview and online tests.


Additional comments

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is a dynamic university with 4 campuses in and around Brussels, one of which is dedicated to photonics research. The university has 8 faculties that accomplish the three central missions of the university: education, research, and service to the community. The faculties cover a broad range of fields of knowledge including natural sciences, classics, life sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering. The university provides bachelor, master, and doctoral education to over 15,000 students, 21% of which are international. It also is a strongly research-oriented institute, which has led to its #182 rankingamong universities worldwide. With more than 150 internationally recognised research teams, VUB performs high-level fundamental and applied research. Thanks to the creation of more than 20 spin-offs in various domains, VUB plays a prominent role in attracting and instigating new economic activity in and around the Brussels-Capital Region.

Teaching and research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel are founded on the principle of unfettered inquiry to benefit the progress of mankind. This means rejecting dogmatic positions and guaranteeing the freedom to form opinions without interference; in this way the University aims to ensure the dispersal of the principle of unfettered inquiry throughout society.

The University is autonomous and democratically run. This means guaranteeing the exercise of the fundamental freedoms within the University, as well as the right of the University Community to participate in the decision-making process and scrutiny of University policy.

The following form part of the University’s mission:

  • the development, the communication and the application of a high level of academic education and scientific research, free from all preconceived ideas;
  • the translation of these ideals and knowledge into society in the spirit of social engagement;
  • the creation of a society in which everyone is capable of engaging in critical thinking.





Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


  • Master’s degree in Physics, Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics or equivalent.
  • Knowledge about photonics (fibre sensors, photonic integration, laser physics) or nonlinear dynamics is a plus.
  • Basic programming skills are required. Experience with Matlab, Scilab, R, Python or similar language and environment is a plus.
  • The candidate is expected to be able to carry out his/her 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 to 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 classes in English to improve his/her language skills if needed.
  • The candidates should be prepared to travel within Europe and potentially worldwide in the frame of research stays, collaborations and participation to conferences.

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 Master’s programme and need to have complied with all diploma requirements before starting their position at VUB.

The candidate is expected to endorse the educational vision of the university (full text available on the university website).

Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.


Specific Requirements



Work location(s)
2 position(s) available at
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2

EURAXESS offer ID: 372961


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