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PhD position; Signal Processing for Optical Wireless Communication

Work environmentEindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, https://www.tue.nl/en/) is one of Europe's top technological universities, situated at the heart of …

2 maanden geleden


de Rondom, Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur


Work environment
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, https://www.tue.nl/en/) is one of Europe's top technological universities, situated at the heart of a most innovative high-tech region. Thanks to a wealth of collaborations with industry and academic institutes, TU/e's research is known for its real-world impact and has worldwide a leading position in effective academic - industrial cooperation. TU/e has around 3,000 employees and 2,300 PhD students (half of which international, representing about 70 nationalities).

The candidate will work in the Signal Processing Group (SPS) at the Department of Electrical Engineering (https://www.tue.nl/en/university/departments/electrical-engineering/). Within the EE department, research and education is done in domains of Telecommunication, Care and Cure, and Smart energy systems. The SPS group has a strong track record not only in signal processing for digital communication, but also for medical applications and for intelligent lighting systems. The impact of the work of the group is evident from a very close cooperation with industrial partners and research institutes and from international recognition and awards of the team. The project is run in close cooperation with other Optical Wireless Communication projects at TU/e.


The demand for wireless communications is growing rapidly. It is expected that not only almost all inhabitants of the earth will carry a personal wireless device, but that also 50 Billion autonomous devices will have a wireless connection to the IoT. The growing wireless traffic will severely congest radio communication networks. Optical Wireless Communication, thus via light, promises to become a key solution to mitigate the pressure on the scarce radio spectrum. In fact, light beams can be targeted to the intended user, offering high bit rates due to a strong link budget, avoiding interference, reducing power consumption and offering an extra layer of security.

The optical channel and light sources behave essentially different from radio systems. This has consequences for the physical layer and for communication protocols. This project extends work in the SPS group on characterization and modeling of the communication link and the optical front-ends, and the use of these models to improve the performance of communication systems. In particular, Signal Processing and Link Adaptivity aspects are addressed.

Project description

There is still a wide gap in performance between practical optical systems and what tests under lab conditions promise. This requires fundamental steps to be made in our understanding of the optical components and to create effective and efficient communication solutions. Modelling of the emitters (not only of LEDs, but also of VCSELs and other lasers), and detectors to support faster modulation, is a first step. The transition from LEDs to VCSELs allows higher modulation bit rates. Sectorization improves links budgets. Yet the optical detectors are becoming a bottleneck in the performance.
  • Modelling VSCEL and laser non-linearity, frequency response and power output
  • Modelling noise and bandwidths in PDs, in particular area, efficiency and noise tradeoffs when parts of the photo-sensitive area are amplified separately, optimization of number of segments
  • New modulation methods, as the commonly used OFDM is suitable to handle the limited bandwidth of LEDs, but other modulation methods may exploit the wide bandwidth of lasers while consuming les power.
  • Increase if the robustness of the wireless optical link by cooperation between light point in the ceiling. Distributed MIMO with multiple emit locations and detectors that have an angular resolution to separate signals.

Meanwhile, narrower beams bring challenges in tracking the signal. Mechanisms to connect to the moving user location and to steer light beams seamlessly are not yet mature. Acquisition and tracking require novel mechanisms, jointly optimizing optics, emitter and detector arrays, algorithms to track and control beam directions, and protocols, not only for the data beam, but also for instance to generate error and control signals.

In the Signal Processing group, we are looking for a candidate who is interested and has a background in the overall system, but particularly has a background in wireless (optical) communications principles, signal processing algorithms and protocols. The project includes work on the hardware infrastructure (transceivers, cooperation between multiple emitters and receivers, backbone infrastructure), modulation processing and signal detection, as well as experimental verification and demonstration in practical system trials.

The PhD candidate will have to design, analyze, engineer and implement an OWC system which is able to reliably offer high data rates using advanced signal processing (including diversity, MIMO) techniques. The candidate also should consider constraints in the system design, such as cost-optimized coverage, power consumption and signaling complexity. Moreover, he/she should validate the system in a realistic system application environment of IoT.

The PhD candidate should regularly report about his/her work, both orally in progress meetings as well as in writing deliverable reports. He/she should cooperate with the other researchers in the project, amongst others by integrating his/her results in the joint project system demonstrator. He/she should disseminate his/her work, including transfer to project partners and via publications in scientific journals and conferences.


  • MSc degree in electrical engineering, in particular in signal processing, wireless communications, or related area.
  • Solid knowledge of signal processing and communication systems,
  • Solid knowledge of communication principles and network protocols (such as diversity reception, MIMO and handovers)
  • Familiar with electronic laboratory measurement equipment, semiconductor optical devices, and electronic circuits.
  • Proven team-working capabilities and communication skills, preferably having some experience in academic publishing
  • English proficiency (both verbal and written)
  • Having the ambition to combine world-class academic research with meaningful industrial transfers
  • Willingness to start as soon as possible


  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary between € 2.395,00 and € 3.061,00 (on a fulltime basis), depending on experience and knowledge. The salary is in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities.
  • Benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Additional information


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact prof. Jean-Paul Linnartz, j.p. linnartz[at]tue.nl

For information about terms of employment, please contact HR department, hrservices.flux[at]tue.nl

Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page. The application should include a:
  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

Please bear in mind: you can only upload 5 PDF documents (up to 2 MB each).