Development of CMOS based time-of-flight sensor for optical imaging

In recent years, time-of-flight (ToF) sensors have contributed to numerous applications from LIDAR to quantum imaging. In this type of optical measurement, typically a sub-nanosecond laser pulse illuminates the target, and a fast single photon detector is used to measure the time that the photon takes to travel between the laser source and the detector. At the University of Edinburgh with collaboration with ST Microelectronics Imaging Division we have revolutionised ToF based sensors basing them on single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs). These sensors use advanced CMOS technology in order to achieve high detection efficiency, fill factor, and integration of ultra-fast timing electronics on chip. The first generation of these sensors are used in flagship smartphones from major phone makers, and the next generations will target applications such as virtual/augmented reality and 3D imaging.

The University is looking to take on a pro-active, engaged, focused PhD student to contribute in the next steps of research and development. In this project, initially the candidate is expected to benchmark and characterise existing ToF sensors. These experiments involve practical skills in configuring experimental setup, optical measurements (e.g. photodiode based measurements), and familiarity with data processing (e.g. Matlab). After characterisation, the candidate is expected to design and contribute to development of the next generation of SPAD based ToF sensors for varied applications. An interest in analogue and digital CMOS design is required for both parts of this project.

The candidate will enjoy a vibrant academic research group and collaboration with industries, in particular working with engineers from ST Microelectronics, and universities across the UK. The student is expected to carry out high quality research, present work at international conferences and publish in high quality peer-reviewed research journals.

Closing Date: 

Saturday, January 12, 2019
Time-of-flight sensor
Time-of-flight sensor

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 

Prof Robert Henderson


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a electrical engineering, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Tuition fees and stipend are available for Home/EU students (International students can apply, but the funding only covers the Home/EU fee rate)

In addition, the stipend is topped-up by ST Microelectronics (Edinburgh, UK), with additional travel and equipment budget.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: