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Doctor of Engineering (EngD): Active 2-dimensional optical meta-surfaces (STMicroelectronics (R&D) Ltd)

  • Full or part time
    Prof D Reid
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, June 30, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project Description
The market for high contrast diffractive gratings is growing rapidly as active sensing of 3D scenes becomes a dominant feature in modern consumer electronics. Advances in lithographic techniques and development of optical specific processes in ST semiconductor foundries has opened the door for high volume mass production of high refractive index contrast diffractive optical elements with unprecedented precision. The functionality of high contrast diffractive optics can be enhanced by implementing so-called meta-surface structures: sub-micron structures that exhibit exciting optical properties, for example, total transmission and selectable phase retardation. This project will aim to address the tuneability of such structures, by control of the surrounding electrical field we aim to dynamically manipulate the function of an optical element in solid-state. The project will play a key role in building expertise in the design, simulation and manufacture of active tuneable meta-surfaces, bringing this exciting new optical technology to the cutting edge of consumer applications. The successful student will be working with ST imaging’s Product Design team in Edinburgh to develop design and simulation methodologies, collaborating with ST foundries in Europe to define the manufacturing process and meeting key ST customers from around the world to deliver this technology into ST’s time-of-flight product roadmap and into the mass market.

Candidate Information

Essential Criteria
Masters level degree in Physics, either an MPhys at minimum 2.1 classification, or an MSc at minimum Merit classification. Candidates with a BSc at 1st class classification and with additional research experience will also be considered.

Imaginative, self-motivated individual with demonstrable problem-solving skills. Able to operate both individually and as part of a team. Happy to present their work, the candidate must be a good communicator.

Desirable Criteria
Experience in any of the following is desirable:

Fundamental Topics
• Diffractive optics
• Laser physics

• Optical design and simulation using ray-tracing (e.g. Zemax / CodeV)
• Rigorous optical simulation (e.g. FDTD)

Software development
• Experience writing scripts and functions in Matlab and/or Python
• C# experience

Way of working:
• Experience with working in version controlled environment, collaborating on software with other engineers
• Understanding principles of design for manufacture

Company Overview
STMicroelectronics is a multinational semiconductor company with world-leading photonic design and manufacturing capability among many other core competencies in fields including power-management, MEMS, micro-controllers and imaging. STMicroelectronics Imaging Division formed around the 1999 acquisition of VSLI Vision, a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh and our permanent R&D site maintains very close links with many Scottish universities, supporting and sponsoring MSc, PhD and EngD programs in STEM subjects.

R&D and collaboration with academic institutions is a core component in ST strategy to maintain world-leading technical and manufacturing expertise. The student will be integrated within the Module R&D team comprising a mixture of expertise in optics, mechanics and photonics. The scope of the project would require the student to [formally and informally] interface with optical design, electrical design and semiconductor process engineering teams in Edinburgh and France to help to develop this highly disruptive technology.

Office Environment
ST Edinburgh office is one part of a large shared building, recently refurbished and split into several suites with a number of high-tech and software companies in residence. The ST premises is a newly-outfitted high-tech workspace: open-plan with meeting rooms and break-out areas available; dedicated dark and light lab space for optical and electrical work; kitchen and canteen area with a table-tennis table and lockers and shower facilities available to building users.

Funding Notes

EngD project is available to UK applicants.

EngD Stipend of approximately £20,000 plus fees paid.

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