2022-05-24T13:40:07-04:00 X, The Moonshot Factory
Photonics Engineer
Hardware Engineering
Mountain View, CA

X is Alphabet’s moonshot factory. We are a diverse group of inventors and entrepreneurs who build and launch technologies that aim to improve the lives of millions, even billions, of people. Our goal: 10x impact on the world’s most intractable problems, not just 10% improvement. We approach projects that have the aspiration and riskiness of research with the speed and ambition of a startup.

About the Team:

We are exploring automated design for electromagnetic devices. This capability could enable applications ranging from integrated photonics to metasurfaces, and requires technical developments in ultra-large-scale simulators, novel optimization schemes, and prototyping/fabrication capabilities.


About the Role:

The position seeks motivated individuals that enjoy working in a small, interdisciplinary team environment, have a growth mindset, a passion for problem-solving directed at achieving meaningful breakthroughs in technology, and are comfortable with uncertainty and exploration.


How you will make an impact:

  • Own our silicon photonic component tapeout workflow including: 
    • Layout design: Build layouts to fabricate our custom designs including PDK components, test structures and PCMs to extract fabrication data. 
    • Verification: Verify custom design performance using finite difference time domain (FDTD) and add eigenmode expansion method (EME) to model the performance of silicon photonic components. Ensure our layouts pass DFM (Design for Manufacturability) and DFT (Design for Testability) requirements.
    • Foundry & measurement labs: Work with fabrication vendors (foundries or research fabs) and measurement labs to build chips and measure their performance.
    • Result analysis: Compare the results of the simulation and experimental data to improve our future device designs. 
  • Inform and develop computational fabrication models (including variability) by:
    • Designing and characterizing physical test structures in the layouts
    • Analyzing and translating fabrication SPC data from the layouts
    • Identifying the most relevant approaches in the literature.
  • Using your knowledge of the photonics domain, identify and explore additional high-value targets for our design efforts. Work with the design team to make them a reality. Contribute to the expansion of our IP portfolio through patent filing
  • Using your knowledge of the photonics domain, identify and explore additional high-value foundry vendors to partner with. Work with the partnerships team to make it  reality.
  • Work with software engineers to guide:
    • Development of computational fabrication models in our design process
    • Development of new simulation/optimization tools and capabilities
    • Workflow automation efforts


What you should have:

  • Understand the general testing principle in photonics with some basic hands-on test experience.
  • Strong communication skills with the ability to explain complex technical concepts to non-experts. Ability to effectively collaborate with software engineers.
  • MSc. or PhD. in physics, electrical engineering, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence or related fields.
  • 2 years of industry scale tapeout experience related to design, fabrication, and testing of integrated photonic components.
  • Expert understanding of CMOS manufacturing process steps and constraints on the design of photonic devices
  • Experience with production scale of silicon packaging
  • Experience with optical proximity correction and its simulation


It would be great if you also had these:

  • Experience developing photonics fabrication and testing capability from the ground up.
  • Experience in bringing a photonics product from conception to mass production stage.
  • Proven record of Python programming experience. You must be productive in a code-driven environment that doesn’t rely on GUIs.
  • Strong background in optoelectronic device physics, as it relates to lasers, waveguides, modulators, detectors, etc.
  • Experience with fab process integration.
  • Strong software skills, with experience scripting and automating commercial, open source, and custom-developed software tools.
  • Startup, skunkworks, or other entrepreneurial experience. Experience seeking out and pivoting based on new market or engineering information. 
  • Proven record of contributions to open source packages for graphics, layout, simulations, HPC
  • Experience with the following PDA tools: IPKISS, Lumerical, Meep, Calibre, Virtuoso.
  • Experience running, monitoring and analyzing machine learning jobs.

At X, we don't just accept difference - we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products and our community. We are proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity or Veteran status. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements.

If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please contact us at: x-accommodation-request@x.team.

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