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CNRS, Valbonne
centre de recherche sur l'hétéro-épitaxie et ses applications
Nanotechnology Optical Physics 
Full Description:

Laboratory : Centre de Recherche sur l’Hétéro-Épitaxie et ses Applications (UPR 10)

PhD Advisor : Dr. Patrice Genevet


NanoCHREAtion Group

Rue Bernard Grégory, 06560 Valbonne, France

Email :

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Tel . : +33(0)4 93 95 78 14



The duration of this PhD is three years. It will be funded at 100% by the European Research Council.



Optical devices are generally designed considering light propagation in refractive materials.
To achieve a desired wavefront, one often needs to carefully adjust many optical components disposed along the beam path to control the beam properties during propagation. Although filters and mirrors respectively select the wavelength and control the propagation direction of radiation in a very simple manner, the control of the other quantities such as the amplitude, the phase and the state of polarization necessitates more sophisticated devices. Those are generally designed to only achieve a specific purpose at a given wavelength or on a relatively narrow band of frequencies. Recent progress in the fields of nanophotonics and metamaterials has enabled the development of metasurfaces[1-3]; these are two-dimensional ultrathin and ultraflat optical components resembling artificial Huygens-like interfaces. They are composed of resonant nano-engineered sub-wavelength optical resonators that enable an unprecedented control of the wavefront over large bandwidths and subwavelength propagation distances.

Research subject, work plan:

The visible spectrum is a natural frequency range for the human beings, and any new technology in optics that pretends to have considerable technological impact would have to be available for visible wavelengths. Therefore, to be a significant engineering method, control of light with nanostructured materials have to be available at optical wavelengths, i.e. in the visible and UV. It is also important to control light very efficiently and eventually to be able introduce light modulation capabilities. In this thesis, the candidate will tackle these challenges and create efficient tunable metasurfaces and other type of ultrathin metamaterials at visible wavelengths.

Fortunately, any material with a sub-wavelength size in the propagation direction that can “catch and release” the electromagnetic field with a controllable phase shift can be a good candidate for the design of metasurfaces. Pioneering works used metallic optical resonators such as plasmonic nano-antennas in the mid infrared region [1-3]. Metallic antennas have similar resonant behavior from the visible to the radio spectral ranges, making this approach of molding wave fronts with antennas applicable to a large part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Enhanced optical performances can be obtained by designing metasurfaces with high index dielectrics [4]. CRHEA has fabrication tools which are suitable for depositing different dielectric materials such as such as SiO2, Si3N4 and other types of dielectrics on metallic films. Moreover, CRHEA is world renowned for the growth of large gap semiconductors which will be specifically developed for the design and the fabrication of active metasurfaces. During his/her Thesis, the candidate will design different types of optical interfaces, he/she will perform nanofabrication using state-of-the-art CRHEA nanofabrication facility and he/she will perform material electrical and optical characterization of devices for particular applications.

Keywords:Nanophotonics, Metamaterials, Metasurfaces, Electromagnetic Boundary Conditions, Wavefront engineering, Nano-resonators, Surface/mantle cloak, Flat optics, Finite element methods.

Applicants skills:The applicant must be highly motivated and enthusiastic student, with a Master degree either in optics and photonics, or applied mathematics, or electrical engineering. He must have good skills/understanding in electromagnetics and/or photonics. We encourage the application of candidates with strong background in applied mathematics. The applicant should also be willing to carry out nanofabrication and optical experiments.


Selected Publications:

[1] Light Propagation with Phase Discontinuities: Generalized Laws of Reflection and Refraction, N. Yu, P. Genevet, M. A. Kats, F. Aieta, J.P. Tetienne, F. Capasso, and Z. Gaburro, Science 334, 333-337 (2011)

[2] Holographic optical metasurfaces: a review of current progress, P. Genevet and F. Capasso, Reports of Progress in Physics, 78 (2), 024401 (2015)

[3] Flat Optics: Controlling Wavefronts with Optical Antenna Metasurfaces, N. Yu, P. Genevet, F. Aieta, M. A. Kats, R. Blanchard, G. Aoust, J-P. Tetienne, Z. Gaburro, and F. Capasso IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, DOI:10.1109/JSTQE.2013.2241399 (2013).

[4] Multiwavelength Achromatic metasurface optical components by dispersive phase compensation, F. Aieta, M.A. Kats, P. Genevet, and F. Capasso, Science, 347, 1342-1345 (2015).



Scientific Research is an amazing mix of both collaborative and competitive research. Finding the correct balance of the two is the crucial aim, and permanent goal, for any laboratory. By focusing the activity of CRHEA upon epitaxial growth, it is, and has been, our strategy to develop a world class expertise in the field of compound semiconductors and to be competitive in the current and future scientific community. Through the development of a large number of industrial and academic collaborations, involved in physics, optics and optoelectronic devices we have now firmly established our place within this community. As a result the research performed at CRHEA has at very least a national, but very often an international dimension.

The modern world is based on ever changing and fast developing technology. Numerous innovations of science and technology affect our everyday life. To comprehend the potential of modern technology and to achieve the even greater goal of embracing such technology, much of which could even not dreamed of some decades ago, has become commonplace in modern society due to the huge strides undertaken by the scientific community as a whole. Nowadays the huge progress made in every field of science seems to come as no surprise to anyone, and such progress seems simply to be expected. What is often not appreciated, regarding the huge steps in science and technology, is that every step forward becomes evermore challenging and increasingly expensive. Progress in science and technology obviously requires excellence in research. However more and more the excellence of individual laboratories, and indeed nations is simply not enough. A collaborative effort at both a national and international level is becoming an increasing necessity. In the modern scientific community real progress is predominately made through the focused research of a number of partners in specific fields of excellence. It is such national and international collaborative research that has been chosen by CRHEA to develop its future goals within the scientific community. The epitaxial growth of compound semiconductors is a huge field of research. As such CRHEA has chosen to focus its research predominantly upon the wide band gap semiconductors such as the group III-Nitrides, SiC and ZnO. This philosophy has allowed CRHEA to develop mutually beneficial collaborations with a number of industrial partners including ST Microelectronics, THALES, RIBER, NOVASIC, Saint Gobain. It has also led to the recent ‘spin-off’ of a start-up company LUMILOG. Through expertise directly developed at CRHEA, LUMILOG now produce and sell industrial standard GaN templates and substrates. Last but not least, the focus of our research on the wide band gap semiconductors allows CRHEA to enter into numerous national and European projects. The  international role of CRHEA is further evidenced by the numerous scientists from around the world who have, and continue to, work at CRHEA.


At CRHEA education is also a major priority. There are numerous students currently undertaking their PhD at CRHEA, while a number of the scientists at CRHEA have academic roles at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. CRHEA is a CNRS laboratory, amalgamated to the Physics Institute INP (UPR10), with strong links with the Information and Ingeniery Science and Technology Institute INST2I. It is managed by the Délégation Régionale 20.


Posted on: 09 May 2016Deadline to apply: 01 August 2016Start Date: 01 September 2016 Duration: 36 months
The Fund category is CNRS and the salary is Not Specified
Doctoral School is Fundamental and applied sciences in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region.

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