PhD Student

Last application date
Mar 01, 2021 00:00
TW05 - Department of Information Technology
Limited duration
M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering, photonics or computer science, with a strong interest in mathematical and numerical methods.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Context Programmable Photonic Circuits are a new class of photonic integrated circuits that are enabled by the steady improvement of technologies like silicon photonics. In a programmable photonic circuit, the flow of light can be controlled dynamically by a combination of large-scale photonics, complex driver electronics, and programming algorithms. The field of programmable photonics is very young, and the hardware and software architectures are still in full development. In the context of the new project GRAPHSPAY, funded by the Flemish Research Foundation (FWO-Vlaanderen), we combine the expertise of the Photonics Research Group (PRG) and the IDLab Network Modeling Group (NetModel) to leverage advanced network design tools and heuristics to construct a programming framework for programmable photonic circuits. Simple routing schemes have already been demonstrated, but more programming routines for more complex functions, especially where the optical phase is important, are largely unexplored. Job description

As a PhD student, you will be involved in the building up a programming framework from the ground up, starting from the fundamentals of photonic circuits, and abstract those into a graph representation. Using multiple techniques from the field of network modeling, configuration routines for programmable photonic circuits will then be tested, first on simulated models, but then on the actual fabricated chips.

You will explore different circuit topologies, and contribute to the design of the next-generation circuits.

You will be part of the two research groups (with a primary supervisor in the PRG and one in the NetModel group).

Over the course of 4 years, you will develop your research methodologies in line with the objectives of the GRAPHSPAY project. You will also be interacting with colleagues in both research groups, which could lead to contributions to other research projects. As part of Ghent University, you will also support the research group with limited education tasks.

Job profile


We are looking for a candidate with an M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering, photonics or computer science, with a strong interest in mathematical and numerical methods.

Decent programming skills are definitely a strong point (the core language used is Python). A basic background in photonics is definitely useful, but there will be ample opportunity to acquire this on the job in the first year of the PhD. During the PhD, the students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the overall technologies behind silicon photonics (note that this research will not involve much hands-on processing or clean-room work), photonics design, advanced modeling techniques and graph algorithm design.


  • M.Sc. degree in Engineering, preferably Electrical Engineering / Photonics / Computer Science.
  • Strong analytical skills for designing and implementing abstract models and algorithms.
  • Strong interest in photonics and algorithm design
  • Decent programming skills
  • You can work independently, have a strong feeling of responsibility and are able to commit to timing and milestones set forward by the research project.
  • You are a team player and have strong communication skills.
  • A good knowledge of English (oral and written) is a must. Any knowledge of Dutch (oral) is a plus.

This PhD position is available immediately and is open until the vacancy is filled. The position is not open for post-docs.

How to apply

Online application: