Postdoc Vacancy for Ultrafast Switching of Higher-Dimensional Photonic Information in Silicon Nanostructures

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03 Mar 2017

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The successful candidate will be a physicist or engineer with a PhD, preferentially in physics with a focus on optics. Experience with ultrafast lasers is an advantage. He or she will bring excellent experimental skills to the team. We expect the candidate to have an excellent command of the English language as well as professional communication and team working skills.  Although this project is initially funded for one year, follow-up projects are likely to open up during the course of the project. 

Project Summary

We fabricate 2D and 3D silicon nanostructures that the candidate will study with ultrafast laser pulses for routing and ultrafast switching of higher-dimensional photonic information. In addition, we will study nonlinear pulse propagation in silicon nitride waveguide arrays fabricated by project partners. This project is a pilot that stimulates further larger project in integrated nanophotonic as well as quantum information processing. 

Supervisors / host groups

Prof. dr. Willem Vos, Complex Photonic Systems (COPS), MESA+ Institute for Nanotechology 
Prof. dr. Klaus Boller, Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics (LPNO), MESA+ Institute for Nanotechology 
Prof. dr. Pepijn Pinkse, Complex Photonic Systems (COPS), MESA+ Institute for Nanotechology 

Project plan

Currently, routing and switching of photonic information on a chip is pursued mainly in 1D photonic structures, e.g., in silicon waveguide circuits. We want to extend routing and switching of photonic information A) to 2D and even 3D nanostructures and B) to ultrashort time scales, in order to gain decisive advantages:

A) Higher dimensionality Routing of photonic information in 2D and 3D arrays of waveguides offers a significantly increased freedom and richness, notably new topologies. This allows us to greatly increase the photonic information density and simultaneously reduce device footprint. Photonic networks with 2D and 3D architectures open up a plethora of novel possibilities such as high-dimensional quantum optics, quantum image processing, or Boson sampling. MESA+ has potential to become a leading player in these new fields. 

B) Ultrafast switching All-optical switching gives access to encoding and processing of information at ultrafast (femtosecond) timescales and concomitant ultrahigh (THz) clock rates, far beyond the current limits of electronics (GHz-range). These intrinsic advantages of optics, when combined with higher-dimensional photonic information in 2-D and 3-D nanostructures, give rise to extreme rates of optical information processing. 

We are currently working to realize high-dimensional (2D, 3D) arrays of waveguides in silicon, using the advanced nanotechnology available in the MESA+ Nanolab. Silicon provides high nonlinear coefficients in addition to its high index of refraction, thereby offering a strong switching response in sharp contours and structures of small overall dimensions and hence, cost. In addition, Si photonic structures can be readily integrated in CMOS electronics. 

Available infrastructure 

Available for a fast start of the project are our advanced laser systems and expertise on ultrafast switching (Boller, Vos), our quantum light source (Pinkse), our expertise to fabricate Si nanophotonic structures in MESA+ Nanolab (Vos).  Junior scientists with relevant expertise for this project: Dr. Bert Bastiaens, Dr. Ravi Uppu, Tristan Tentrup, Diana Grishina, Cock Harteveld (technician), and Dr. Lyuba Amitonova. 

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