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PhD H/F : "Brain-inspired computing with neuromimetic spiking microlasers"

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Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR9001-SYLBAR-001
Workplace : PALAISEAU
Date of publication : Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Scientific Responsible name : Sylvain Barbay
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Neuromorphic photonics is a new field of research at the heart of recent progresses in analog computation and machine learning. Its goal is to investigate new ways to process optical information or to compute using brain-inspired concepts.

We propose to study coupled spiking photonic nodes in order to implement photonic artificial neural networks. Each spiking node is materialized by a micropillar laser with integrated saturable absorber, whose neuromimetic properties have already been explored in the team. In biological neurons, information is coded with spikes (electrical pulses) which are excited in an all-or-none fashion provided input stimuli to the neuron soma exceed a given threshold. This generic property is called excitability and has been demonstrated in micropillar lasers. Though, the optical spikes emitted by the latter are more than one millions times shorter in duration than biological action potentials. Hence, photonic neurons could in principle be interesting to build ultrafast artificial neural networks with low power consumption. The computing capability of optical neurons are enforced by the property of temporal summation also already demonstrated by us in micropillar lasers, and which provides universal computation capability.

The main objective of the thesis will thus be to take advantage of these neuromimetic properties to fabricate and implement neuromorphic computing architectures and demonstrate ultrafast analog computation. The thesis will take place at the C2N (Palaiseau) which hosts a first-class nanofabrication facility. The samples will be fabricated in the C2N clean-room. This study will take place in the framework of the recently funded ANR ANACONDA project, with one partner in FEMTO-ST (Besançon) and one in CERCO (Toulouse).

The work will consist in the design and fabrication of the samples, running the experimental setup, modelling and analysis of the results, and interacting with the project's partners.
The applicant is expected have a strong motivation, be rigorous and curious, with strong background in physics, optics, laser physics, semiconductor physics, and possibly semiconductor lasers and/or nonlinear dynamics and/or machine learning.

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Work Context

The PhD will be hosted at the C2N in Palaiseau. C2N is a joint CNRS/Université Paris-Saclay laboratory which hosts a first-class clean-room facility and whose research activities span basic to applied research in the areas covered by 4 Departments: Photonics, Nanoelectronics, Materials, Microsystems and Nano-Bio Fluidics. He/She will work in the Photonics Department in the TONIQ team whose activities concern quantum and nonlinear micro-nanophotonics. The PhD will be supervised by Dr Sylvain Barbay, CNRS senior researcher.

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