PhD Position in Photonics: Micro-laser coupled to micro-disk cavities to generate wide-bandwidth optical chaos.

This job offer has expired

    Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/04/2019 00:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Belgium › Brussels

Randomness and unpredictability are essential for a wide range of applications including many focusing on security and cryptography. Because software generated random numbers – also called pseudo-random – can be exactly reproduced given the exact starting point of the algorithm (the seed), relying on an unpredictable physical process to create a truly random generator can be an appealing solution. Yet, all common noise sources, such as thermal noise in a resistor or spontaneous emission noise in a laser, are limited in terms of bandwidth, which prevents extraction of random numbers at high-speed. To obtain a high-level of unpredictability at a fast rate the use of chaos has been suggested early on, and in the last 10 years, exploiting the high-speed of optical chaos, systems with a bitrate beyond the Gbps and even up to the Tbps have been demonstrated. But, this approach relying on chaotic lasers is also facing two important issues forming the current bottleneck: on one side, the limited response time of the laser limits the chaos bandwidth and the overall speed of the dynamics. On the other side, optical chaos typically exhibits some non-random features which then need to be removed through processing techniques. These two crucial points therefore need to be tackled to outperform current systems. In this context, we are looking for an excellent PhD candidate in photonics (duration = 48 months) to join our team to work on the development of cutting-edge micro laser devices coupled to a micro-disk cavity implemented on a photonic integrated circuit. The combination of these two peculiar structures is expected to drastically improve the properties of the generated signal for chaos-based applications, while the integration on a photonic circuit will guarantee a reduced foot-print. Such component would therefore have all the key advantages required to go from the lab to the market. This research work will include: 

  • The analysis and understanding of the underlying dynamical mechanism playing a role in our system, and which supports the targeted dynamical improvements
  • The modeling, simulation and optimization of both the micro-laser structure and the micro-disk cavity
  • The conversion of this optimal structure into a photonic integrated circuit layout compatible with foundries design rules
  • The testing and validation of the manufactured circuits. 
  • The dynamical characterization and performance evaluation of the final devices

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 a 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.  

This project will be carried out in close collaboration with the group of Prof. Yuncai Wang at the Taiyuan University of Technology, China. The candidate will be expected to travel to China on a yearly basis and to spend one full Semester at TYUT.


Starting date: between june and october 2019.

For more information, please contact Prof. M. Virte (martin.virte@vub.be).

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 (thesis or scientific paper) and an application letter to Prof. M. Virte (martin.virte@vub.be) by e-mail before April 15th , 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, 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 is available at www.vub.ac.be under the heading ‘future employees’.

Eligibility criteria

Because this project will be carried out in close collaboration with the Taiyuan University of Technology and that the candidate will be expected to spend a significant amount of time at our partner’s facilities, the candidate must be eligible for a Chinese Visa or for a Visa exemption.

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 ranking among 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


  • 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 a plus.
  • Knowledge about FDTD and photonic circuit simulation tools such as Lumerical FDTD and Interconnect or Photon Design OmniSim and PICWave 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 your 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 deadline 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. Knowledge of chinese is a plus.
  • The candidates should be prepared to travel to our partner’s facilities in China on a yearly basis and to spend a full semester there. He or she will also be expected to travel in Europe and potentially worldwide e.g. for 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 Masters programme and need to have complied with all diploma requirements before starting their position at VUB.

The available PhD position has a normal duration of 4 years in Belgium.

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.

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

EURAXESS offer ID: 377493


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