Junior Fellow – META-LED: META-learning in neurosynaptic LEDs for brain-inspired photonic AI

Research Fellow Braga, Portugal


Junior Fellow  META-LED: META-learning in neurosynaptic LEDs for brain-inspired photonic AI


Job Reference: Ref.04.23.17/3

Employer: International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL)

Location: Braga, Portugal

Group/Unit: Ultrafast Bio- and Nanophotonics (UBNP)

Number of Vacancies: 1

Employment Type: Full time

Contract Duration: 26 months


Open Date for Applications: October 9th, 2023

Closing Date for Applications: December 14th, 2023, 23h00m (Lisbon Time)


Key words: #nanotechnology, #photonics, #nanofabrication, #neuromorphiccircuits



The UBNP research group is composed by an international and interdisciplinary team of physicists, chemists and bioengineering researchers that study light-matter interactions and their deployment in biomedical imaging, quantum sensing and light-based computation. Together with collaborators across the globe we advance the fundamental knowledge of light-matter interactions and develop technologies within the frame of our three strategic research lines “Advanced Bioimaging and Sensing”, “Quantum Photonics” and “Integrated Photonics”.


Project specifications: INL participates in the Scientific Research and Technological Development project META-LED, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).


(a) Name of the project: META-LED: META-learning in neurosynaptic LEDs for brain-inspired photonic artificial intelligence


(b) Reference number: 101046790


(c) Scientific Area: Nanotechnology - Nano-Optics and Nanophotonics


(d) Description: The META-LED project uses advanced III-V semiconductors, already in place in the fast-growing photonics industry of 3D sensing and imaging for smartphones, enabling future exploitation pathways. Specifically, the project will design functional nanostructured III-V materials to develop a reconfigurable photonic matrix neurosynaptic system of LED chips which shall be tested by evaluating photonic matrix-vector multiplication (MVM) operations for sensing and meta-learning, enabling to achieve brain-like complex artificial intelligence tasks (e.g., pattern image recognition) using extremely low power consumption.


Description of the functions and key primary responsibilities: 

The job duties will be the following:


1.     Study of literature related to semiconductor micro- and nanoscale photonic light sources (e.g., micro- and nanoLEDs), photodetectors, and neuron-inspired neuromorphic photonic circuits, memories and computing for artificial intelligence systems;

2.     Develop work which comprises the design, modelling, microfabrication, and advanced characterization of photonic matrix arrays of neuromorphic (brain-inspired) devices based on a light-based group III-V platform technology;

3.     The design research work includes the analysis of a light-emitting interconnected matrix array that shall be tested for matrix-vector multiplication (MVM) operations. The work entails i) epi-layer semiconductor material design using quantum simulators, ii) tailor light absorption and emission in III-V nanostructures for efficient interconnectivity, and iii) to add neuron-like and memory functions that will be used for building neural networks;

4.     The experimental work comprises fabrication of LED chips arranged in a photonic matrix from the epi-layer wafer material, advanced static and dynamic electro-optical characterization, and implementation of on-chip learning tasks. The work shall be performed at INL state-of-the-art cleanroom and electronics/optics laboratory facilities;

5.     Collaborate in the photonics and neuromorphic computing application of META-LED platform with our collaborators from the University of Lisbon (Portugal), and University of Strathclyde (UK);

6.     Summarize the performed work in form of laboratory reports, and group seminar presentations, as well as preparing material for presenting in consortium meetings and for scientific dissemination, e.g., at conferences and for publications in international scientific journals.


Mandatory Qualifications



  • Master degree or equivalent in any of the following areas: Physics, Physics Engineering, Photonics and Optoelectronics, Micro- and Nanoengineering, Material Science and Engineering, or similar.



  • Microfabrication, nanofabrication or related, specifically manufacturing of optoelectronic/photonic devices;
  • Electronics, optics and optoelectronic systems.


Technical Skills

  • Photonics integrated circuit design and hands-on” experience on CAD design tools;
  • Hands-on experience with photonic simulation tools (e.g., mode solvers, finite-difference methods, e.g. Ansys Lumerical, COMSOL or similar);
  • Hands-onexperience on software for quantum simulators (e.g., Silvaco, nextnano, or similar) for calculating electronic properties of quantum devices (e.g., simulating quantum dots, quantum wires, etc.) is positively evaluated;
  • Programming for data analysis or device control (e.g., Python, Labview, Matlab, Origin, Excel or related);
  • Literature study.


Other Skills

  • Have a good knowledge of English/Fluency in English is required.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience and knowledge of semiconductors, III-V compound materials, low- dimensional nanostructures (e.g., quantum dots, wires, wells), solid-sate emitters (LEDs, lasers), or other optoelectronic devices is preferred.


Personal Skills

  • “Hands-on” approach together with a high commitment in respecting working deadlines;
  • Problem Solving ability;
  • Ability to work independently and as team player;
  • Good communication skills.


Supervision: The work plan will be developed at the INL under the scientific guidance of Dr. Bruno Romeira. The successful candidate will be integrated in the UBNP group.


Selection Committee:

The selection of candidates will be carried out by a Selection Committee consisting of the following persons:

Dr. Bruno Romeira – Scientific Supervisor

Dr. Jana Nieder – Research Group Leader

Dr. Martin Lopez-Garcia – Research Group Leader

Catarina Gomes - Human Resources


General Eligibility conditions, required qualifications and expertise:

Candidates must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Hold a MSc Degree within the field of the selected vacancy;
  2. Be a Portuguese citizen, a European Union citizen, a non-European Union Citizen, or a stateless person with a scientific and professional curriculum that demonstrates an appropriate profile for the activity to be performed;
  3. Fluency in English is required.



How to Apply

The application must be in English and include the following mandatory documents:

a)     Cover letter;

b)     Curriculum Vitae;

c)      Academic and/or Professional diplomas;

d)   Recognition of academic degrees (only academic degrees awarded by non-Portuguese higher education institutions)*.


*The selected candidate(s) with an academic degree granted by a non-Portuguese higher education institution must present, for hiring purposes, the certificate of recognition of that degree(s), issued by the Portuguese Directorate General for Higher Education or by a Portuguese Public Higher Education Institution. Please consult the website of the Portuguese Directorate General for Higher Education: https://www.dges.gov.pt/en.


Online application instructions:

  1. The application is made online by clicking the “Apply” button below;
  2. The candidate must complete all required sections of the online application form;
  3. The candidate must submit the mandatory documents mentioned above in pdf format by including them in the “Additional files” section using the “Add portfolio” button.


Important note:

Incomplete applications including the failure to provide mandatory documents or providing inaccurate information will result in the application not being considered.



How the Selection Process works

A. Applications eligibility check

This stage will be carried out on the basis of the mandatory requirements, education, experience and technical skills defined for the job, as well as the validation of the mandatory documents. Only candidates who meet the eligibility criteria will move forward to the next stage.

B. CV Assessment

The Selection Committee will evaluate the eligible applications based on their CV and other submitted documents and the suitability for the position, and shall focus on the relevance, quality and up-to-date of the following items:

  • Scientific and Technological Production (‘STP’);
  • Applied and Practice-based Research Activities (‘RA’);
  • Activities  related to the Dissemination of Knowledge (‘DK’);
  • Activities related to the Management of Science, Technology and Innovation programmes (‘MSTI’).


The research experience will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • STP (65%): Academic Qualifications (AQ) – 25%; Scientific Profile (SP) – 25%; Research Quality (RQ) – 10%; RTI Funding (RF) – 5%;
  • RA (15%): Development, operation and maintenance of scientific facilities “instrumentation and/or equipment”  (DOM) – 2%; Conferences, symposia and scientific cooperation activities (CSS) - 3%; Professional activities (PA) – 5%; Mobility and Interdisciplinarity (MI) – 5%;
  • DK (5%): Transfer to other areas of society (TS) – 3%; Promotion of the public understanding of science (PPUS) – 2%;
  • MSTI (5%): Laboratory facilities and equipments (LFE) – 5%.


This criteria will have a total valuation of 90%. The minimum threshold for this stage is 60%.


The top four ranked candidates will be shortlisted for interview, provided however that they pass the threshold mentioned above.

C. Interview(s)

The interview(s) may be done in different formats: video recording, online or onsite.

The question based interview will evaluate the match between the candidate’s profile and the requirements for the position, including the technical and personal skills. To better support this stage, the candidate may be requested to prepare a short presentation.

This criterion will have a total valuation of 10%.


D. Nomination

The selected candidate will be nominated and formally offered the position, including the disclosure of the contractual conditions. 



Our Benefits

  • Competitive salary;
  • Tax benefits and other Diplomatic privileges;
  • Private health insurance;
  • Family allowances (according to family situation);
  • Free nursery service at INL premises (subject to availability);
  • Support for education fees of dependent children;
  • Relocation support;
  • 30 working days of annual leave.


Financial Benefits

INL offers an attractive financial package appropriate to an international research organization. Due to INL special legal status as intergovernmental organization, financial benefits are exempt for national income tax. Apart from the salary, INL may offer, depending on the personal situation, additional allowances and benefits for families and non-residents.


Additional Information


Applicable legal and regulatory framework, taking into consideration the international status of the Organisation

The contract will be subject to the INL’s Staff Rules, as amended from time to time, as well as to all other relevant instructions issued by the Organisation. For this purpose, a copy of the Staff Rules shall be provided. The contract may also be supplemented by the terms and conditions of the Financing Contract between the Organisation and the FCT governing the implementation of the FCT Project.

Disputes between the Organisation and the Employed Member of the Personnel shall be settled in accordance with the INL´s Staff Rules.


Notification of results

Each candidate notified via email of the result of their individual application. If the first candidate refuses the offer, the Human Resources will send an offer to the second candidate on the ranking, and so on until the vacancy is filled.

We highly value the interest shown from applicants wishing to become a part of the INL experience. It is important for us to maintain good communications with candidates. No matter the outcome of the application, we always send the applicant an answer. 


Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Principle

INL follows a non-discrimination and equal access principle, wherefore no candidate can be privileged, benefited, impaired or deprived of any rights whatsoever, or be exempt of and duties based on any possible discriminatory issues.


The advertisement deadline may be extended at any time without previous notice in order to improve the suitability and effectiveness of the recruitment process.



About INL

The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory – INL (http://www.inl.int), is the first and only Intergovernmental Organisation in the world entirely focused on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

It was founded under an international legal framework to perform interdisciplinary research, deploy and communicate nanotechnology for the benefit of society. INL aims to be a recognised leading global nanotechnology innovation hub.