ERC PhD: wireless telemetry network for implantable brain-computer interfaces


A PhD position in designing an implantable wireless microsystem for linking computers and human brains.


What you will do

The number of sensing channels in implantable brain-computer interface is continuously increasing to improve the quality of the neural recording/stimulation, e.g., imec's Neuropixels with up to 5000 sensing electrodes. A high-bandwidth, energy-efficient yet miniature transceiver for wireless data and power transfer is critical for long-term neuroscience exploration, while minimizing the invasiveness to patients. However, there are challenging trade-offs among implant volume, energy efficiency and available bandwidth, due to physical constrains. Furthermore, to understand how different parts of the brain cortex interacts, neural recording should be performed distributary, i.e., a brain-wide wireless sensing network. Limitations when scaling up the network, due to e.g., protocol overhead, coupling, etc., should be overcome.


In this PhD project, a miniature, wideband, and energy-efficient wireless telemetry microsystem and network for neural-recording/stimulation applications will be developed, using unconventional propagation, processing and protocol methods. The network telemetry will be validated in-vitro or ex-vivo with clinically relevant setups. You will be working on:
- Implantable wireless microsystem design.
- Novel network access protocol design and capacity analysis.
- System validation in biological equivalent setups (in-vitro or ex-vivo).


This PhD position will be part of a ground-breaking research project "Intranet of Neurons" and a team of PhD researchers, under the ERC (European Research Council) Consolidator grant. You will be closely working with other researchers. The position will be based in our Eindhoven office on the High Tech Campus.


What we do for you
We offer a PhD position in a challenging and international environment at the forefront of technology, in an international network of renowned industrial customers. This is your opportunity to work in an environment where new technologies are created and brought to the market to have an impact on tomorrow's society. More specifically you:
- Pursue your PhD with full financial funding in a close-to-industrial environment, through employment at imec Netherlands.
- Work in a group known as the "centre of excellence" in low-power wireless communication and implantable health research.
- Access to the world-class research facility from imec internationally.
- Opportunity to collaborate with top international research groups via imec's semiconductor and neurotechnology ecosystem.
- High visibility under renown ERC grant in scientific community.


Imec-Netherlands itself is not giving PhD degrees but acts as a host research institute for PhD and postdoc research in collaboration with Dutch universities, e.g., TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, etc. PhDs will get supported by university professors and imec researchers, all of them are experts in their domains. Both engineers and scientists can apply because of the multidisciplinary character of our research.


Who you are

  • MSc degree in electrical, electronic or communication engineering or equivalent.
  • Solid knowledge in digital communication systems and wireless networks (e.g., Nyquist sampling, Shannon limit, medium access, etc.).
  • Familiar with electronic system design and integration and has experience in application demonstration.
  • Familiar with FPGA programming, data processing and software GUI design (e.g., Verilog, VHDL, Python, Matlab, etc.).
  • Experience in multi-physics or EM modeling (e.g., Comsol, HFSS, ADS) is a plus.
  • Experience in in-vitro validation is a plus.
  • Passionate about linking microelectronics to biomedical applications to create societal impact.
  • You are a team player and have strong communications skills.
  • You work independently, have a strong feeling of responsibility and can commit to milestones of a research plan.
  • You have excellent English writing and presentation skills.


Recruitment process:
You can send your resume and motivation letter until 22 October 2021.
Your MSc transcript (course, score, GPA) and English certification (TOEFL, IELSE, or GRE) should be provided during the application.
Interviews will be scheduled in October & November 2021.
The target starting date of this PhD assignment is 1 April 2022.


Click on 'apply' to submit your application. You will then be redirected to e-recruiting.