PhD scholarships for a new research field in Nanophotonics: Extreme Dielectric Confinement of Light

Job type: 


Application deadline: 

Friday, January 31, 2020

A recent discovery has shown that it is possible to confine light at length scales much below the conventional diffraction limit in semiconductors. Previously, this was only considered possible in metals through the excitation of plasmons, which unfortunately are associated with large optical losses. This new discovery opens tremendous possibilities for realizing a new regime of strong light-matter interaction, with important applications in quantum technology as well as the “holy grail” of integrating photonics and electronics. Enabled by a major grant from the Danish National Research Foundation, a number of Departments at the Technical University of Denmark are joining forces in the Center for Nanophotonics (NanoPhoton) to explore this new research field, that we have coined Extreme Dielectric Confinement (EDC).

We are looking for 5 PhD students, with a physics or engineering degree, who have excelled in their studies and are now interested in working at the forefront of a new research field. The research in NanoPhoton addresses several fields, and we are therefore interested in students with strong background or interest in diverse fields, including quantum optics, mathematical optimization, laser physics, integrated photonics, semiconductors, nanofabrication, and spectroscopy. The successful candidates will interact with a dedicated team of highly motivated researchers, where we emphasize strong interaction between experiment and theory, independent thinking, and team spirit.

Responsibilities and tasks
Brief descriptions of the 5 PhD projects are given below. In your application, please indicate which of the projects you are interested in. While prior knowledge in one or more of the topics is an advantage, we welcome applications from students who have demonstrated excellent academic performance in adjacent fields, are highly motivated, and interested in teamwork.

  • Project A: Fabrication and experimental characterization of EDC-structures based on silicon. Investigation of fundamental limitations to confinement and nonlinearities.
  • Project B: Fabrication and experimental characterization of EDC-structures in III-V semiconductors including active quantum wells and quantum dots. Investigation of laser and photodetector operation.
  • Project C: Development of mathematical tools for inverse design by the technique of topology optimization. Design of new structures with optimized nonlinearities and light-matter interaction.
  • Project D: Development of the quantum theory of new EDC-structures with extremely strong light-matter interaction. Application to few-photon scattering and laser-noise squeezing.
  • Project E: Epitaxial growth of III-V nanostructures and nanoimaging of EDC structures through the techniques of electron-energy-loss spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. Candidates with strong background within optics and photonics, quantum optics, nanofabrication, materials science, laser physics, applied mathematics or finite-element simulations are preferred. In the application, please indicate which of the project(s) above you are interested in.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide. You may read more about being a PhD student at DTU here.

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is located some 10 km from DTU’s campus, offering a large variety of cultural possibilities.

Candidates will be assessed by a panel consisting of Prof. Jesper Mørk, Prof. Kresten Yvind, Prof. Ole Sigmund, Assoc. Prof. Søren Stobbe, and Senior Researcher Elizaveta Semenova.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary of PhD students in Denmark is high, with the approximate salary per year currently being DKK 382,000 (EURO 51,200) including pension. The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from NanoPhoton Center Leader, Prof. Jesper Mørk.

You can read more about the participating research groups here: Nanophotonics, Nanolab, Topology optimization, Electromagnetic field theory

Please submit your online application no later than 31 January 2020 (local time).

Apply online at

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Fotonik has 220 employees and is one of the largest research centers in the world focusing entirely on photonics. Research is performed within the span from fundamental science to applications, emphasizing the areas of nanophotonics, lasers, quantum photonics, optical sensors, LEDs, photovoltaics, ultra-high speed optical transmission systems, and bio-photonics.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.