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PhD Opening: ASIC design for an ultrasonic brain-monitoring device

Opening for: PhD student

Status details

Announced:10 Aug 2017
Closing date:01 Feb 2018
One in ten children is born prematurely, which amounts to approximately 500,000 preterm infants in Europe each year. Thanks to improvements in fetal and neonatal care, the survival rate in preterm infants has significantly increased. Yet, they regularly show neurodevelopmental problems, including cognitive deficits, motor disabilities and psychiatric diseases with ensuing lifelong burdens for the up-growing individuals and their families. A major cause of these neurodevelopmental problems is brain injury, linked to inadequate brain perfusion during and after delivery. In this project we will develop a light-weight, low-power monitoring device that uses 3D ultrasound to assess brain perfusion every 10 minutes through the baby’s fontanel. On a workstation, nurses and doctors can monitor the resulting images and provide timely and guided treatment if required. This project is a collaboration between the Lab. of Acoustical Wavefield Imaging and the Electronic Instrumentation Lab. of TU Delft, the Thoraxcenter of Erasmus MC, and the Dept. of Neonatology, UMC Utrecht. We are looking for a PhD candidate who will work in a 4-year period on the development of the electronics that will be embedded in this monitoring device. He or she will focus on the realization of a battery-powered ASIC that will interface with a 2D array of ultrasound transducers directly integrated on top of the ASIC. The ASIC will be responsible for driving the transducer elements wilth properly-timed high-voltage pulses, and amplifying, digitizing and recording the resulting echo signals. The project will require breakthroughs in integration density and power efficiency.


Candidates should have a strong background in analog and mixed-signal CMOS design. Successful tape-out experience and publications are a strong plus. Experience with ultrasound, high-voltage circuit design, MEMs, medical applications, and/or multi-disciplinary research is a plus. Candidates should be self-motivated team players with good analytical, problem-solving and communication skills.

Contact Michiel Pertijs

Associate Professor

Electronic Instrumentation Group

Department of Microelectronics

Additional information

In The Netherlands, almost all PhD positions are linked to funded research projects. This has several implications:
  • PhD students are employed: they receive a salary rather than a grant. Most projects have a duration of 4 years.
  • Positions become available once a project is funded. This can happen at any time during the year.
  • It typically takes 6 to 9 months for a project proposal to receive funding. In this period, a position may be anticipated but the outcome remains insecure. Once a project is funded, the open position needs to be filled as soon as possible.

If you are interested in our research, it merits to inquire whether openings will be available. We collect resumes of prospective PhD students throughout the year, for each of our research tracks.

General requirements

We make our selection based on the following general requirements:
  • Formal requirements regarding prior education: you should have earned an MSc degree at a recognized institute for higher education.
  • Background: you should have a background that fits the requirements of the project
  • Excellence: your Grade-Point-Average should be above 8 (10). Also your MSc thesis should have received a grade above 8 (10).
  • English: you should be able to communicate well in english (written and oral). Provide TOEFL/IELTS scores if available.
  • Originality: your MSc thesis or later work (publications) should reflect some original ideas. Critical and independent thinking is very important.
  • Team player: you should be able to work well in a team of other project members.
Your resume should contain contact information of prior advisors/supervisors who can provide feedback.