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PhD scholarship in Shaping the Future of Nanophotonic Systems

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)

Virksom - a-kasse og faglig organisation for selvstændige

Frist 6. oktober 2020

The Topology Optimization group (www.topopt.dtu.dk) at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark invites applications for a 3-year PhD position starting fall 2020 within the field of inverse design and topology optimization. The PhD-project is part of a collaboration with DTU Fotonik, through the newly established research centre NanoPhoton – Centre for Nanophotonics – which is dedicated to exploring new possibilities for Extreme Dielectric Confinement (EDC) of light in semiconductors to length scales much smaller than the diffraction limit.

This ambitious PhD project is concerned with development and applications of mathematical tools for inverse design by topology optimization. The goal is to design new and optimized geometries for enhanced light-matter interaction in nanophotonic devices for chipscale information technology. To this end, the PhD student will develop and implement efficient optimization methods for combined shape and topology optimization running on parallel computing platforms. An important part of the work involves development of the central design goals in close collaboration with other members of the NanoPhoton research centre.

Responsibilities and tasks

As a PhD student, you will be working extensively on development and implementation of numerical methods for simulation and optimization of nano-photonic systems using Maxwell’s equations. Therefore, candidates should have documented experience in at least one and preferably several of the following areas: computational physics, computational mechanics; finite element methods; numerical optimization techniques; shape and /or topology optimization methods. In addition, we envision that

  • You have an open mind and can think creatively in a mathematical, physical, and programming contexts
  • You are eager to develop new research results, come up with new ideas, and test them by implementation.
  • Your research will include extending and contributing to the development of our in-house parallel computing framework based on PETSc and the c++ computing language as well as working in commercial FEM platforms, such as COMSOL Multiphysics
  • You have interest in inverse design and topology optimization of multi-physics problems and are committed to improve the state-of-the-art

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 within the field of Mechanical Engineering, Photonics Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Numerical Methods or Computational Physics. Excellent written and spoken English skills are mandatory.

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.


The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Ole Sigmund, Assistant Professor Rasmus E. Christiansen (DTU Mechanical Engineering) and Professor Jesper Mørk (DTU Fotonik).

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 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 Ole Sigmund, tel.: +45 4525 4256.

You can read more about the Department of Mechanical Engineering at www.mek.dtu.dk, the TopOpt-group at www.topopt.dtu.dk, DTU Fotonik at www.fotonik.dtu.dk/english and the NanoPhoton Project at




Please submit your online application no later than 6 October 2020 (local time).

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 Mechanical Engineering covers the fundamental engineering disciplines withinSolid mechanics, Fluid mechanics, Coastal and Maritime Engineering, Energy systems and energy conversion, Materials and Surface Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Engineering design and Product development. The department has a scientific staff of about 135 persons, 100 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of about 80 persons


The research vision of NanoPhoton - Centre for Nanophotonics – is to explore the hitherto inaccessible regime of extreme dielectric confinement of light in optical cavities and to apply the associated enhanced light-matter interaction to solve fundamental outstanding challenges in chipscale information technology. To this end, we will develop the science and technology for a new class of optical nanostructures by combining fundamental electromagnetic and quantum optical theory with state-of-the-art nanofabrication and advanced experimental characterization techniques. An important part of NanoPhoton is inverse design or topology optimization, which originated from mechanical engineering but have been pioneered and introduced to the field of nanophotonics by members of the TopOpt group (www.topopt.dtu.dk) from DTU Mechanical Engineering.

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 12,000 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.

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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)
DTU er et teknisk eliteuniversitet med international rækkevidde og standard. Vores mission er at udvikle og nyttiggøre naturvidenskab og teknisk videnskab til gavn for samfundet. 11.200 studerende uddanner sig her til fremtiden, og 6.000 medarbejdere har hver dag fokus på uddannelse, forskning, myndighedsrådgivning og innovation, som bidrager til øget vækst og velfærd.

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