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Personal profile


Exploiting light-matter interaction on the nanoscale leads to novel concepts for the required ubiquitous sensors for the current era of the Internet of Things.  

Research profile

Rob van der Heijden is Associate Professor in the group Photonics and Semiconductor Nanophysics at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His expertise is in Photonic Crystals made in the Opto-Electronic semiconductors GaAs and InP. These are used as functional components in Photonic Integrated Circuits for ultra-low volume sensors of diverse quantities such as temperature, refractive index, pressure, reflection spectra, displacements and more.

Rob is interested in application areas varying from the agri&food to semiconductor industries and all the way to consumer appliances. He has a background both in the advanced technology development of micro- and nanofabrication as well as in the theory and design of novel concepts for dedicated sensors. Furthermore, Rob works on hybrid technologies combining microscale semiconductor circuits with fiber-optic sensors.

Academic background

Rob van der Heijden obtained his MSc in Experimental Physics (with honors) from Radboud University in Nijmegen and later obtained his PhD on Terahertz spectroscopy of solids from the same university. After a post-doc at the Nijmegen High Field Magnet Laboratory, he joined the Department of Applied Physics at TU/e, where he worked in Cryogenic Techniques, Low Temperature Physics and Electronic Transport in Low-dimensional systems before he started his current affiliation with the Photonics and Semiconductor Nanophysics group as Associate Professor to work in the field of Nanophotonics.

Rob is also associated with the Institute for Photonic Integration. His work at the TU/e was only interrupted by a visiting professorship lasting several months at the University of Sydney.

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Research Output 1984 2018

4 Citations (Scopus)

Anti-stiction coating for mechanically tunable photonic crystal devices

Petruzzella, M., Zobenica, Cotrufo, M., Zardetto, V., Mameli, A., Pagliano, F., Koelling, S., Van Otten, F. W. M., Roozeboom, F., Kessels, W. M. M., van der Heijden, R. W. & Fiore, A., 19 Feb 2018, In : Optics Express. 26, 4, p. 3882-3891 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
atomic layer epitaxy
frequency modulation

Integrated micro-spectrometers and optical sensors

Zobenica, Ž., 22 Jan 2018, Eindhoven: Technische Universiteit Eindhoven. 177 p.

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)Academic

Open Access
optical measuring instruments

Integrated optomechanical displacement sensor based on a photonic crystal cavity

Galeotti, F., Sersic-Vollenbroek, I., Petruzzella, M., Pagliano, F., Zobenica, Z., van Otten, F. W. M., Marnani, H. S., van der Heijden, R. & Fiore, A., 4 Sep 2018, International Conference on Optical MEMS and Nanophotonics, OMN 2018 - Proceedings. IEEE Computer Society, MO-3.4

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Electromechanical devices
Photonic crystals
Atomic force microscopy
2 Citations (Scopus)

Electrically driven quantum light emission in electromechanically tuneable photonic crystal cavities

Petruzzella, M., Pagliano, F. M., Zobenica, Z., Birindelli, S., Cotrufo, M., Van Otten, F. W. M., Van Der Heijden, R. W. & Fiore, A., 18 Dec 2017, In : Applied Physics Letters. 111, 25, 7 p., 251101

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
light emission
13 Citations (Scopus)

Integrated nano-opto-electro-mechanical sensor for spectrometry and nanometrology

Zobenica, Ž., van der Heijden, R. W., Petruzzella, M., Pagliano, F., Leijssen, R., Xia, T., Midolo, L., Cotrufo, M., Cho, Y. J., Van Otten, F. W. M., Verhagen, E. & Fiore, A., 1 Dec 2017, In : Nature Communications. 8, 1, p. 1-8 8 p., 2216

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Spectrum Analysis
Gas absorption

Press / Media

Paul Hendriks new Dean of School of Management

Rob van der Heijden


2 items of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Student theses

AC-microcalorimeter gebaseerd op een siliciumchip

Author: Janse, F., 31 Aug 1994

Supervisor: de Waele, A. (Supervisor 1), de Vries, W. (External person) (Supervisor 2) & van der Heijden, R. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master


AC-microcalorimetrie tussen 1.5 en 30 K.

Author: Dankers, H., 31 Aug 1993

Supervisor: de Waele, A. (Supervisor 1), van der Heijden, R. (Supervisor 2) & de Vries, W. (External person) (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master


Cavity optomechanics in vertically-coupled photonic crystal nanobeams and membranes

Author: Westendorp, S., 31 Aug 2014

Supervisor: Fiore, A. (Supervisor 1) & van der Heijden, R. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master


Design of 1D photonic crystal mirrors

Author: van Rijn, M., 30 Apr 2016

Supervisor: Smit, M. (Supervisor 1) & van der Heijden, R. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Edge magnetoplasma resonances in a two dimensional electron gas on liquid helium

Author: Vorstenbosch, H. F., 31 Oct 1993

Supervisor: Sommerfeld, P. (External person) (Supervisor 1) & van der Heijden, R. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master