PhD on Multiband Photonic Integrated Wavelength Selective Switches

Updated: 25 days ago
Deadline: 23 Jun 2024

Irène Curie Fellowship



Electrical Engineering

Reference number


Job description

The smart optical networks lab (SONL) at the Electro-Optics Communication (ECO) group at Eindhoven University of Technology is recruiting for a PhD position to research novel multiband photonic integrated wavelength selective switches for next generation optical networks.

The electro-optical communications (ECO) group in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at TU/e is a globally recognised, leading scientific and applied research group focused on exploiting light for communication and quantum systems. We apply our knowledge in collaboration with other scientists at TU/e and more recently within the newly formed Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute (EHCI) to develop the required solution for many of the relevant challenges in communication and sensing systems. The group expertise spans from the fundamentals and physics of photonics, optics, the design and fabrication of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) systems to exploiting optical linear/non-linear signal processing to unlock fiber capacity and relevant higher layer protocols required to operate modern optical communication networks.

Based in the purposely built FLUX building at the TU/e Campus, the ECO group has access to 300m2 of labs for conducting experimental research and is supported by a state-of-the-art 800m2 cleanroom. With 11 tenured scientists and as many as 70 PhDs, postDocs and senior researchers, the ECO group is a vibrant and exciting research group perfectly suited for talented and ambitious scientists. The group is active in spin outs and starts-ups (e.g. Microalign, Astrape Networks, PhotonX Networks) and carries out bilateral industrial research with major stakeholders in the communications industry.

The PhD project targets the design, prototyping, and demonstration of novel multiband photonic integrated circuits to enable a high-capacity optical transport architecture based on Multi-Band (MB) optical transmission and switching networks. These MB optical systems represent the next technological evolution to deal with the traffic demand and service requirements of 6G mobile networks in the most cost-effective manner. MB expands the available capacity of optical fibers by enabling transmission within S, E, and O bands, in addition to commercially available C and/or C+L bands. The total bandwidth will be around 53 THz, which translates into a potential 10x transmission capacity increase with respect to C-band only.

To realize MB networks, technology advances are required, and innovative photonic devices are needed for MB data plane such as new optical amplifiers, Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexers (ROADM) based on MB Wavelength Selective Switches (MB-WSS) for transparently switching ultra-high-capacity data traffic and fast reconfiguration of the optical network. The system specifications consider a range of multi-band use-cases from access networks, metro towards long-haul. This project aims to develop photonic integrated MB-WSS to implement and demonstrate a low-cost and low-power consumption MB optically switched network as well as in access and metro-haul systems. By leveraging the advantages of multi-band technology, this project will contribute to the development of the photonic integrated technologies needed to realize reliable and ultrahigh-capacity MB optical networks.

The PhD will investigate and design novel disaggregated WDM optical cross-connect switch architectures using integrated devices each to deliver switching at various granularities such as wavelength and band while supporting the wideband operation. The aim is to explore ways to deliver a modular pay as you grow architecture where sub-systems can be re-arranged to handle services and traffic demands. Synthetic architectures will be explored to different various levels of add/drop modular systems for colourless, directionless and contentionless systems. The PhD will also address the definition, implementation, integration, and testing of the various control interfaces that will support software-defined networking principles such as declarative configuration and model-driven management and operations (e.g. based on NETCONF or RESTCONF).

Responsibilities and tasks

The purpose of the project is to design and develop photonic integrated MB-WSS and transmission systems to enable novel ultra-high capacity MB optical networks. To achieve these objectives, the project is organized into four main activities:

  • Investigate MB optical networks and systems and define system specifications that will be translated into requirements for designing and implementing the photonic integrated WSS and transmission systems.
  • Design, simulate, and fabricate the photonic integrated MB-WSS and transmission systems based on the system specifications and network architecture.
  • Packaging and assessing the MB-WSS in collaboration with the industrial partners.
  • Design optoelectronic interfaces for monitoring and controlling the photonic integrated MB-WSS.
  • Implement a lab-scaled testbed to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of the ultra-high capacity MB optical network empowered by the innovative developed photonic integrated MB-WSS. Access, metro, and long-haul scenarios will be investigated.
  • The PhD candidates will contribute to the TU/e efforts in establishing collaboration with the other researchers in the project and contribute to the related project reporting, scientific publication and dissemination activities.

    Job requirements

    Candidates for this challenging projects must have:

    • Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering or in Applied Physics.
    • Solid knowledge of optical fiber communications techniques and/or for photonic devices and circuits.
    • Knowledge of photonic devices and circuits / integration technologies and software simulation tools for optical fiber communications are appreciated.
    • He/she must be familiar with optical and electronic laboratory measurement equipment, optical fiber system and components, semiconductor devices, and electronic circuits.
    • Previous cleanroom experience will be considered an advantage but is not required.
    • Proven team-working capabilities and communication skills
    • English proficiency (both verbal and written)
    • Willingness to start as soon as possible

    Conditions of employment

    A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

    • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
    • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
    • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
    • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process .
    • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
    • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
    • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

    Information and application

    About us

    Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 

    Curious to hear more about what it’s like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.


    If you can see yourself in this position and would like to find out more information please contact Prof. Nicola Calabretta ([email protected] ).

    Visit our website for more information about the application process  or the conditions of employment.  You can also contact HR Service ([email protected] ).

    Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .


    We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
    The application should include a:

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position;
  • A detailed Curriculum Vitae;
  • A written scientific report in English (MSc thesis, traineeship report or scientific paper)
  • Copies of diplomas with course grades (transcripts).
  • We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

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