Prof. Maarten Kuijk, received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) in 1993. In 1994 he became assistant Professor at the VUB in the field of integrated electronics and optoelectronics and was additionally appointed “Research Associate” for the fund for scientific research Flanders (FWO-V) in 1997. In 2000 he became professor in Electrical Engineering at the ETRO department of the VUB, now being part-time professor, guiding 4-10 PhD students. He authored and co-authored more than 125 international refereed publications and patented > 50 inventions. Most of the patents were either used to start university spin-offs or were licensed/sold to businesses. Kuijk also works part-time for Microchip Technology as Senior Engineering Manager for the creation of novel communication chips.
Laying the foundations for the LED-lamp
As a FWO research associate, Kuijk explored novel ways of light extraction from Light-Emitting-Diodes (LEDs) targeting high wall-plug efficiency. With PhD students and imec-researchers the most efficient extraction based on a nano-scale surface-textured non-resonant cavity was implemented, conceiving for the first time a record-high wall-plug efficiency of more than 40%. This result triggered a worldwide rush amongst the large III-V semiconductor companies for developing the consumer LED-lamps that are now 10 times better in lifetime and power-efficiency than their incandescent predecessors.
Novel ways of self-adaptive continuous-time linear equalization
VUB spin-off EqcoLogic N.V. was founded (by Kuijk and others) in 2005 for fab-less production of advanced CMOS communication chips and it defined the physical layer of the “CoaXPress” (CXP) standard. CXP has become the world-wide international way for interfacing between high-end Industrial Cameras and Frame Grabbers. It is based on high-speed wireline (coax) digital communication, and it is used in almost every industrial production system/facility that uses high-speed imaging. In 2013 EqcoLogic was acquired by Microchip Technology, for its high-speed communication chip expertise and it remains as R&D center in Brussels for new industrial and automotive communication developments.
Microchip acquires EqcoLogic
Novel ways of Photonic mixing/demodulation/time-gating
A fundamental research project headed by Kuijk laid the foundation for a novel efficient way of mixing of photo-generated minority carriers with a local oscillator signal. This photonic demodulation innovation led to new image sensor principles. With four of his PhD students the fundamental principles were brought into practice realizing best-in-class 3D-time-of-flight camera’s. In 2009 VUB spin-off SoftKinetic Sensors N.V. (initially named Optrima) was founded. 3D sensors, modules and cameras were developed, marketed, sold and used in webcams, virtual headsets and drones, giving work to 120 fte in 2014. The company got acquired in 2015 by “SONY Corporation”, for the detector-technology, the people and the Intellectual Property. The 3D sensors are now present in many industrial, consumer and automotive products.
Sony acquires SoftKinetic
Sony Depthsensing Solutions
Melexis Automotive 3DTOF
A project on fluorescence-guided surgery using improved time-gated image sensors brought the research group with post-doc Dr. Hans Ingelberts into a state of fascination for making the invisible, visible during surgery. The additional information extracted from fluorescence and its characteristic lifetime in the operating theatre are of immense value for the surgeon. Business development manager Rik van Heijningen is setting up a next spin-off for making video-rate life-time imagers in the near-infra-red wavelength range.
In collaboration with his PhD students many topics are under investigations, most of which are in the field of integrated electronics and optoelectronics. The goal is to devise novel principles that deviate substantially from the common tracks that are being followed by the international research community.