Promotionsthemen

Below you can find the available PhD Research Topics for application into the second phase of the program (PhD research). When applying via the application portal, you are free to choose up to five topics. If you are interested in the Fellows’ research activities, visit our Fellows page and click on the institutions of interest to get to the relevant website. Unfortunately, it is not possible to apply for a PhD Research Topic with a Fellow, if he/she is not listed here with a topic. However, during the application procedure there is the option to make fine adjustments on topics.

  • Stefan W. Hell - Far-Field Optical Imaging at Molecular Resolution (Göttingen)

  • New concepts have brought about a paradigm shift in the physical limits to optical analysis of molecular systems. Imaging resolutions of a few nanometers have been demonstrated, well beyond the Abbe/Rayleigh limits. The recently demonstrated MINFLUX concept (Science 355, 606-612 (2017)) outlines a path to further improved minimally invasive, low-light-level analysis, in principle down to Ångström length scales. This will open up entirely new experimental opportunities in the study of macromolecules and beyond.

    The successful candidate(s) will develop physical measurement schemes based on MINFLUX and related concepts to analyze molecular systems at highest resolution. Candidates should be highly motivated and prepared to work within a truly multidisciplinary team. They should have (or expect to complete soon) a Masters or equivalent degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry or a comparable qualification. A willingness to master challenges in optical design, computer-driven experimental control and data analysis and, crucially, in-depth study of a problem by critical thinking and dedicated physical simulation are all central to success.


  • Ulrich Nienhaus - Advancing STED nanoscopy-based tools for live cell dynamics (Karlsruhe)

  • Fluorescence imaging is a powerful technique to study biomolecular interactions in living systems at the highest possible temporal and spatial resolution. Within this PhD topic, STED nanoscopy-based instrumentation will be advanced through implementation of ultrafast scanners and adaptive optics. Moreover, novel data analysis tools based on single particle tracking and spatial/temporal correlations of pixel intensities will be further developed. These tools will be employed for a range of biophysical experiments on living systems (cells, tissues organisms) in our multidisciplinary group.


  • Thomas Pertsch - Nanoscale photon control for next generation ultrafast integrated quantum systems (Jena)

  • We are looking for talented candidates, who are sharing the enthusiasm for nanoscale quantum photonics with us. This research field, with its multiple challenges in fundamental physics, quantitative modelling of complex multiphysics problems, nanotechnology, and experimental physics, is an ideal area for qualification of young scientists seeking career opportunities at the forefront of science & research. A PhD project in this field would involve the design, technological realization, and experimental characterization of nonlinear photonic nanostructures for photonic quantum state generation and detection. Besides curiosity-driven fundamental research in nanophotonics, the work would incorporate connections to application-driven projects for quantum imaging and sensing.

  • Vladislav Yakovlev - Theory of attosecond metrology in solids and nanoscale objects (München)

  • Together with experimentalists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP), we investigate new ways of inducing and controlling electron dynamics with light. Doing so, we theoretically explore new regimes of nonlinear light-matter interaction and clarify the fundamental speed limits of metrology and optoelectronic signal processing. Our primary goal is to develop theoretical descriptions and computational models for various processes that accompany the interaction of few- and subfemtosecond light pulses with solids. For our work, we use well-established general-purpose methods, such as the time-dependent density functional theory, as well as simplified models, where appropriate approximations allow us to gain deeper physical insight. Being a subgroup within the LAP, we participate in planning new experiments and supporting ongoing ones with theory.


  • Matthias Kling - Attosecond imaging and spectroscopy of light-induced dynamics in molecules and nanostructures (München)

  • We offer PhD opportunities in attosecond imaging and spectroscopy with complex molecules and nanostructures. The main focus of the research lies on elucidating light-induced correlated and collective dynamics in complex molecules, molecule-nanoparticle heterostructures, and nanostructures in experiment and theory, supported by international collaborations. For more details, see http://www.attosecondimaging.de


  • Stefan W. Hell - Far-Field Optical Imaging at Molecular Resolution (Göttingen)

  • New concepts have brought about a paradigm shift in the physical limits to optical analysis of molecular systems. Imaging resolutions of a few nanometers have been demonstrated, well beyond the Abbe/Rayleigh limits. The recently demonstrated MINFLUX concept (Science 355, 606-612 (2017)) outlines a path to further improved minimally invasive, low-light-level analysis, in principle down to Ångström length scales. This will open up entirely new experimental opportunities in the study of macromolecules and beyond. The successful candidate(s) will develop physical measurement schemes based on MINFLUX and related concepts to analyze molecular systems at highest resolution. Candidates should be highly motivated and prepared to work within a truly multidisciplinary team. They should have (or expect to complete soon) a Masters or equivalent degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry or a comparable qualification. A willingness to master challenges in optical design, computer-driven experimental control and data analysis and, crucially, in-depth study of a problem by critical thinking and dedicated physical simulation are all central to success.


  • Ulrich Nienhaus - Advancing STED nanoscopy-based tools for live cell dynamics (Karlsruhe)

  • Fluorescence imaging is a powerful technique to study biomolecular interactions in living systems at the highest possible temporal and spatial resolution. Within this PhD topic, STED nanoscopy-based instrumentation will be advanced through implementation of ultrafast scanners and adaptive optics. Moreover, novel data analysis tools based on single particle tracking and spatial/temporal correlations of pixel intensities will be further developed. These tools will be employed for a range of biophysical experiments on living systems (cells, tissues organisms) in our multidisciplinary group.


  • Vladislav Yakovlev - Theory of attosecond metrology in solids and nanoscale objects (München)

  • Together with experimentalists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP), we investigate new ways of inducing and controlling electron dynamics with light. Doing so, we theoretically explore new regimes of nonlinear light-matter interaction and clarify the fundamental speed limits of metrology and optoelectronic signal processing. Our primary goal is to develop theoretical descriptions and computational models for various processes that accompany the interaction of few- and subfemtosecond light pulses with solids. For our work, we use well-established general-purpose methods, such as the time-dependent density functional theory, as well as simplified models, where appropriate approximations allow us to gain deeper physical insight. Being a subgroup within the LAP, we participate in planning new experiments and supporting ongoing ones with theory.


  • Nicolas Joly - Generation of entangled photons with extreme wavelengths separation (Erlangen)

  • Generation of entangled photons with extreme wavelengths separation. The goal of this project is the generation of entangled photon pairs with the signal and idler photons separated in frequency by more than three octaves, one of them being in the UV range and the other in the IR range of spectrum. By contrast to conventional source of entangled pairs of photons based on crystal with second order susceptibility, we plan to use four-wave mixing in gas-filled hollow-core fibres. In such a scheme signal and idler wavelengths are generated symmetrically. The potential applications of such a source are imaging and spectroscopy “with undetected photons”. Due to “induced coherence”, one can perform imaging or spectroscopy of any material at the frequency of one photon by looking at the photon entangled to it, which can be at a very different frequency. These methods allow one to access ‘difficult’ spectral ranges like middle infrared (MIR) and terahertz.

  • Matthias Kling - Attosecond imaging and spectroscopy of light-induced dynamics in molecules and nanostructures (München)

  • We offer PhD opportunities in attosecond imaging and spectroscopy with complex molecules and nanostructures. The main focus of the research lies on elucidating light-induced correlated and collective dynamics in complex molecules, molecule-nanoparticle heterostructures, and nanostructures in experiment and theory, supported by international collaborations. For more details, see http://www.attosecondimaging.de


  • Vladislav Yakovlev - Theory of attosecond metrology in solids and nanoscale objects (München)

  • Together with experimentalists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP), we investigate new ways of inducing and controlling electron dynamics with light. Doing so, we theoretically explore new regimes of nonlinear light-matter interaction and clarify the fundamental speed limits of metrology and optoelectronic signal processing. Our primary goal is to develop theoretical descriptions and computational models for various processes that accompany the interaction of few- and subfemtosecond light pulses with solids. For our work, we use well-established general-purpose methods, such as the time-dependent density functional theory, as well as simplified models, where appropriate approximations allow us to gain deeper physical insight. Being a subgroup within the LAP, we participate in planning new experiments and supporting ongoing ones with theory.

  • Stefan W. Hell - Far-Field Optical Imaging at Molecular Resolution (Göttingen)

  • New concepts have brought about a paradigm shift in the physical limits to optical analysis of molecular systems. Imaging resolutions of a few nanometers have been demonstrated, well beyond the Abbe/Rayleigh limits. The recently demonstrated MINFLUX concept (Science 355, 606-612 (2017)) outlines a path to further improved minimally invasive, low-light-level analysis, in principle down to Ångström length scales. This will open up entirely new experimental opportunities in the study of macromolecules and beyond.


  • Matthias Kling - Attosecond imaging and spectroscopy of light-induced dynamics in molecules and nanostructures (München)

  • We offer PhD opportunities in attosecond imaging and spectroscopy with complex molecules and nanostructures. The main focus of the research lies on elucidating light-induced correlated and collective dynamics in complex molecules, molecule-nanoparticle heterostructures, and nanostructures in experiment and theory, supported by international collaborations. For more details, see http://www.attosecondimaging.de


  • Ulrich Nienhaus - Advancing STED nanoscopy-based tools for live cell dynamics (Karlsruhe)

  • Fluorescence imaging is a powerful technique to study biomolecular interactions in living systems at the highest possible temporal and spatial resolution. Within this PhD topic, STED nanoscopy-based instrumentation will be advanced through implementation of ultrafast scanners and adaptive optics. Moreover, novel data analysis tools based on single particle tracking and spatial/temporal correlations of pixel intensities will be further developed. These tools will be employed for a range of biophysical experiments on living systems (cells, tissues organisms) in our multidisciplinary group.


  • Stefan Nolte - Dynamic quantum gates in photonic circuits implemented by femtosecond laser structuring (Jena)

  • Quantum information science addresses various fundamental questions on how to harness quantum mechanical phenomena for processing and transmitting information. Photons are one highly promising implementation scheme for such systems. However, such photonic quantum architectures typically require very complex and sensitive settings when bulk optics are used. Within this project, quantum optical circuits will be implemented in a photonic chip based on integrated optical waveguides. Ultrashort laser pulses will pave the way for the direct inscription of 3D waveguide arrangements in a glass substrate building the quantum circuits. Photons serving as qubits can be manipulated by artificially implemented birefringent structures to change their state. One focus will be on realizing electronically reconfigurable quantum gates, which can be dynamically adapted by embedding liquid crystals into the chip. The project includes the design of the quantum chips, fundamentals of the fs-writing process, implementation of the quantum gates as well as the demonstration and evaluation of their functionality.


  • Thomas Pertsch - Nanoscale photon control for next generation ultrafast integrated quantum systems (Jena)

  • We are looking for talented candidates, who are sharing the enthusiasm for nanoscale quantum photonics with us. This research field, with its multiple challenges in fundamental physics, quantitative modelling of complex multiphysics problems, nanotechnology, and experimental physics, is an ideal area for qualification of young scientists seeking career opportunities at the forefront of science & research. A PhD project in this field would involve the design, technological realization, and experimental characterization of nonlinear photonic nanostructures for photonic quantum state generation and detection. Besides curiosity-driven fundamental research in nanophotonics, the work would incorporate connections to application-driven projects for quantum imaging and sensing.


  • Carsten Rockstuhl - Theoretical and Numerical Nanooptics (Karlsruhe)

  • Based on progressive research and development projects, many interesting and up-to-date research topics are available. Please contact us for latest information regarding open positions. We study by analytical and numerical means the interaction of light in the linear, nonlinear, and quantum regime with nanostructured materials such as metals, semiconductors, or dielectrics, and explore applications thereof. Referential examples for such applications are, e.g., in the field of photon management in light harvesting or sensing devices. We have activities in the field of plasmonics, optical nanoantannas, metamaterials and metasurfaces, computational material design, and quantum optics at the nanoscale in place and are currently seeking a PhD student to reinforce our team.

  • Ulrich Nienhaus - Advancing STED nanoscopy-based tools for live cell dynamics (Karlsruhe)

  • Fluorescence imaging is a powerful technique to study biomolecular interactions in living systems at the highest possible temporal and spatial resolution. Within this PhD topic, STED nanoscopy-based instrumentation will be advanced through implementation of ultrafast scanners and adaptive optics. Moreover, novel data analysis tools based on single particle tracking and spatial/temporal correlations of pixel intensities will be further developed. These tools will be employed for a range of biophysical experiments on living systems (cells, tissues organisms) in our multidisciplinary group.


  • Thomas Pertsch - Nanoscale photon control for next generation ultrafast integrated quantum systems (Jena)

  • We are looking for talented candidates, who are sharing the enthusiasm for nanoscale quantum photonics with us. This research field, with its multiple challenges in fundamental physics, quantitative modelling of complex multiphysics problems, nanotechnology, and experimental physics, is an ideal area for qualification of young scientists seeking career opportunities at the forefront of science & research. A PhD project in this field would involve the design, technological realization, and experimental characterization of nonlinear photonic nanostructures for photonic quantum state generation and detection. Besides curiosity-driven fundamental research in nanophotonics, the work would incorporate connections to application-driven projects for quantum imaging and sensing.

  • Stefan W. Hell - Far-Field Optical Imaging at Molecular Resolution (Göttingen)

  • New concepts have brought about a paradigm shift in the physical limits to optical analysis of molecular systems. Imaging resolutions of a few nanometers have been demonstrated, well beyond the Abbe/Rayleigh limits. The recently demonstrated MINFLUX concept (Science 355, 606-612 (2017)) outlines a path to further improved minimally invasive, low-light-level analysis, in principle down to Ångström length scales. This will open up entirely new experimental opportunities in the study of macromolecules and beyond. The successful candidate(s) will develop physical measurement schemes based on MINFLUX and related concepts to analyze molecular systems at highest resolution. Candidates should be highly motivated and prepared to work within a truly multidisciplinary team. They should have (or expect to complete soon) a Masters or equivalent degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry or a comparable qualification. A willingness to master challenges in optical design, computer-driven experimental control and data analysis and, crucially, in-depth study of a problem by critical thinking and dedicated physical simulation are all central to success.


  • Herbert Gross (Jena)

  • The optical design is usually creating new optical systems by numerical optimization. The used algorithms are mostly purely mathematical working local or global tools without incorporating optical understanding of correction. The control of this procedure needs a large experience. Nowadays many modern methods are proposed to optimize by KI or ML means. Unfortunately only very few data are available to let these algorithms learn and the performance evaluation is not trivial. The idea of this research topic is to combine basic rules and methods of correction and aberration theory with modern optimization approaches using bio-inspired ideas to come to a tool, which works more automatic. All available algorithms today are only changing numbers of continuous or discrete variables. One more goal of this topic is to allow also for structural changes inside a system, if the optimization indicates, that this is necessary. This means, the decision about the lens number, the use of aspheres etc. is done by the algorithm.

  • Christine Silberhorn (Paderborn)

  • In the field of integrated optical quantum technologies, lithium niobate is an established material platform. Nevertheless, the realization of compact sources is limited due to weak waveguide confinement conditions. To overcome this limitation the novel material of thin film lithium niobate (Lithium niobate on insulator, LNOI) combines the nonlinear properties of lithium niobate with the possibility to produce nano waveguides. This opens completely new possibilities for quantum applications. The crystal geometry allows for the miniaturization of devices, sources and modulators and therefore a fundamentally new field of research. This project provides the foundation for exploiting the full potential of LNOI. The aim is to develop a new technology for the fabrication of waveguide and periodically poled structures and thus to realize photon pair sources with novel features for quantum optical applications.


  • Stefan Nolte - Dynamic quantum gates in photonic circuits implemented by femtosecond laser structuring (Jena)

  • Quantum information science addresses various fundamental questions on how to harness quantum mechanical phenomena for processing and transmitting information. Photons are one highly promising implementation scheme for such systems. However, such photonic quantum architectures typically require very complex and sensitive settings when bulk optics are used. Within this project, quantum optical circuits will be implemented in a photonic chip based on integrated optical waveguides. Ultrashort laser pulses will pave the way for the direct inscription of 3D waveguide arrangements in a glass substrate building the quantum circuits. Photons serving as qubits can be manipulated by artificially implemented birefringent structures to change their state. One focus will be on realizing electronically reconfigurable quantum gates, which can be dynamically adapted by embedding liquid crystals into the chip. The project includes the design of the quantum chips, fundamentals of the fs-writing process, implementation of the quantum gates as well as the demonstration and evaluation of their functionality.

  • Nicolas Joly - Generation of entangled photons with extreme wavelengths separation (Erlangen)

  • Generation of entangled photons with extreme wavelengths separation. The goal of this project is the generation of entangled photon pairs with the signal and idler photons separated in frequency by more than three octaves, one of them being in the UV range and the other in the IR range of spectrum. By contrast to conventional source of entangled pairs of photons based on crystal with second order susceptibility, we plan to use four-wave mixing in gas-filled hollow-core fibres. In such a scheme signal and idler wavelengths are generated symmetrically. The potential applications of such a source are imaging and spectroscopy “with undetected photons”. Due to “induced coherence”, one can perform imaging or spectroscopy of any material at the frequency of one photon by looking at the photon entangled to it, which can be at a very different frequency. These methods allow one to access ‘difficult’ spectral ranges like middle infrared (MIR) and terahertz.


  • Christine Silberhorn (Paderborn)

  • In the field of integrated optical quantum technologies, lithium niobate is an established material platform. Nevertheless, the realization of compact sources is limited due to weak waveguide confinement conditions. To overcome this limitation the novel material of thin film lithium niobate (Lithium niobate on insulator, LNOI) combines the nonlinear properties of lithium niobate with the possibility to produce nano waveguides. This opens completely new possibilities for quantum applications. The crystal geometry allows for the miniaturization of devices, sources and modulators and therefore a fundamentally new field of research. This project provides the foundation for exploiting the full potential of LNOI. The aim is to develop a new technology for the fabrication of waveguide and periodically poled structures and thus to realize photon pair sources with novel features for quantum optical applications.


  • David Hunger - Realization of quantum nodes with rare earth ions in optical microcavities (Karlsruhe)

  • Rare earth ions doped into crystalline solids can show exceptional optical and hyperfine coherence, which makes them promising candidates for quantum optical applications ranging from quantum memories to quantum computing and sensing. The project will expand our activity on the efficient optical detection and quantum control of individual ions to realize optically addressable qubit registers, using fiber-based microcavities to enhance optical transitions and high-resolution spectroscopy for selective addressing of ions.


  • Stefan Nolte - Dynamic quantum gates in photonic circuits implemented by femtosecond laser structuring (Jena)

  • Quantum information science addresses various fundamental questions on how to harness quantum mechanical phenomena for processing and transmitting information. Photons are one highly promising implementation scheme for such systems. However, such photonic quantum architectures typically require very complex and sensitive settings when bulk optics are used. Within this project, quantum optical circuits will be implemented in a photonic chip based on integrated optical waveguides. Ultrashort laser pulses will pave the way for the direct inscription of 3D waveguide arrangements in a glass substrate building the quantum circuits. Photons serving as qubits can be manipulated by artificially implemented birefringent structures to change their state. One focus will be on realizing electronically reconfigurable quantum gates, which can be dynamically adapted by embedding liquid crystals into the chip. The project includes the design of the quantum chips, fundamentals of the fs-writing process, implementation of the quantum gates as well as the demonstration and evaluation of their functionality.


  • Thomas Pertsch - Nanoscale photon control for next generation ultrafast integrated quantum systems (Jena)

  • We are looking for talented candidates, who are sharing the enthusiasm for nanoscale quantum photonics with us. This research field, with its multiple challenges in fundamental physics, quantitative modelling of complex multiphysics problems, nanotechnology, and experimental physics, is an ideal area for qualification of young scientists seeking career opportunities at the forefront of science & research. A PhD project in this field would involve the design, technological realization, and experimental characterization of nonlinear photonic nanostructures for photonic quantum state generation and detection. Besides curiosity-driven fundamental research in nanophotonics, the work would incorporate connections to application-driven projects for quantum imaging and sensing.

  • Vladislav Yakovlev - Theory of attosecond metrology in solids and nanoscale objects (München)

  • Together with experimentalists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP), we investigate new ways of inducing and controlling electron dynamics with light. Doing so, we theoretically explore new regimes of nonlinear light-matter interaction and clarify the fundamental speed limits of metrology and optoelectronic signal processing. Our primary goal is to develop theoretical descriptions and computational models for various processes that accompany the interaction of few- and subfemtosecond light pulses with solids. For our work, we use well-established general-purpose methods, such as the time-dependent density functional theory, as well as simplified models, where appropriate approximations allow us to gain deeper physical insight. Being a subgroup within the LAP, we participate in planning new experiments and supporting ongoing ones with theory.


  • Matthias Kling - Attosecond imaging and spectroscopy of light-induced dynamics in molecules and nanostructures (München)

  • We offer PhD opportunities in attosecond imaging and spectroscopy with complex molecules and nanostructures. The main focus of the research lies on elucidating light-induced correlated and collective dynamics in complex molecules, molecule-nanoparticle heterostructures, and nanostructures in experiment and theory, supported by international collaborations. For more details, see http://www.attosecondimaging.de


  • Vladislav Yakovlev - Theory of attosecond metrology in solids and nanoscale objects (München)

  • Together with experimentalists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP), we investigate new ways of inducing and controlling electron dynamics with light. Doing so, we theoretically explore new regimes of nonlinear light-matter interaction and clarify the fundamental speed limits of metrology and optoelectronic signal processing. Our primary goal is to develop theoretical descriptions and computational models for various processes that accompany the interaction of few- and subfemtosecond light pulses with solids. For our work, we use well-established general-purpose methods, such as the time-dependent density functional theory, as well as simplified models, where appropriate approximations allow us to gain deeper physical insight. Being a subgroup within the LAP, we participate in planning new experiments and supporting ongoing ones with theory.


  • Matthias Kling - Attosecond imaging and spectroscopy of light-induced dynamics in molecules and nanostructures (München)

  • We offer PhD opportunities in attosecond imaging and spectroscopy with complex molecules and nanostructures. The main focus of the research lies on elucidating light-induced correlated and collective dynamics in complex molecules, molecule-nanoparticle heterostructures, and nanostructures in experiment and theory, supported by international collaborations. For more details, see http://www.attosecondimaging.de


  • Matthias Kling - Attosecond imaging and spectroscopy of light-induced dynamics in molecules and nanostructures (München)

  • We offer PhD opportunities in attosecond imaging and spectroscopy with complex molecules and nanostructures. The main focus of the research lies on elucidating light-induced correlated and collective dynamics in complex molecules, molecule-nanoparticle heterostructures, and nanostructures in experiment and theory, supported by international collaborations. For more details, see http://www.attosecondimaging.de


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