openings at CAS
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Opening for: PhD student

Status details

Announced:28 Nov 2016
Closing date:31 Dec 2016
Filled:19 Dec 2016
Duration:4 years
Today our society heavily relies on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as GPS, for positioning and navigation, as well as the distribution of time and frequency reference signals. GPS has an excellent proven track record, and a very high economic value, but at the same time GPS has, as well as other GNSSes, a number of limitations.

The SuperGPS project

In this project we aim to develop a hybrid optical-wireless system for accurate positioning, navigation, and network synchronization for many applications, as shown in the figure above. Here, blue lines represent fiber-optic connections in the telecom network, which is synchronized through an accurate optical Master clock (in the red square). The synchronized optical network serves as a backbone for a wireless enhanced terrestrial positioning system (in green squares). The wireless link will use wideband radio signals, rather than today�s relatively narrowband GNSS-signals. One of the applications lies in smart highways and autonomously driving vehicles, and a pilot demonstration of SuperGPS technology under real-life conditions is one aim of this project.


SuperGPS should allow for simultaneous data, time and frequency transfer (with 10 picosecond accuracy and 10-18 relative stability, respectively) through fiber-optic networks, and positioning (with 1 decimeter accuracy, or better), in particular under those circumstances in which satellite navigation is not available, or only with strongly reduced performance.


At TU Delft, two PhD students will be appointed, one by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science, and another by the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, both at TU Delft. They will work on wideband (UWB) radio propagation, signal design and processing, and on positioning algorithms and system lay-out. At the VU University in Amsterdam also two PhD-students will be appointed by the Faculty of Sciences. They will work in the LaserLaB on the development of transceivers for optical data, time and frequency transfer, taking White Rabbit Ethernet as a starting point, to be used over long-haul glass fibre connections.

VU Amsterdam and TU Delft offer an excellent and stimulating research environment with extensive available infrastructure and expertise. Candidates are expected to have an MSc-degree in a relevant discipline (such as physics, electrical engineering, mathematics, or geoscience), good command of English, as well as good laboratory and programming skills (working with measurement equipment, electronics, and hardware), and a proven ability to find elegant and creative solutions to challenging problems. Successful candidates are appointed for 4 years.

Contact Gerard Janssen

Circuits and Systems Group

Department of Microelectronics

Related project

SuperGPS: Accurate timing and positioning

Accurate timing and positioning through an optical-wireless distributed time and frequency reference

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: this depends on the specific 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.