PhD in the field of optical computing (f/m/d)

The Leibniz Institute of Photonics Technology (Leibniz-IPHT) offers the following position (part time up to 75%) in the Research Department of Smart Photonics, starting on May 1th, 2023:

Ph.D. candidate (f/m/d)

The position is initially limited to 3 years. An extension will be sought if suitable.

The Leibniz-IPHT is a university independent research institute with a close connection to the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and member of the Leibniz association.

Job description:

Computing with light has long been science fiction. This fiction is about to become a reality - thanks to nature-inspired computing paradigms based on mimicking the neuronal activity in our brain. The Smart Photonics group at Leibniz-IPHT, led by Dr. Mario Chemnitz, aims to crack this neural code with light to (a) implement sustainable hardware for the artificial intelligence (AI) of the future and (b) develop autonomous diagnostic methods for environmental and health care. For this endeavor, we seek motivated individuals from all STEM fields passionate about programming, teamwork, and technological innovation.

Specifically, we are looking for a Ph.D. candidate with a strong computer & natural science interest, excellent research background, and an urgent desire to expand their area of knowledge. The goal of the Ph.D. candidate will be to develop and explore a novel fiber-based information processor for neuromorphic computing tasks. In addition to the research goal, there will be a particular focus on the personal development of the Ph.D. candidate. Methods to be learned include: (a) the numerical and experimental implementation of modular fiber-optic setups for optical information processing, (b) the transfer of known neural network topologies and natural computing concepts to optical wave dynamics, and (c) the realization of worldwide unique programmable hybrid material fibers. The group aims at scientific work at the highest international level. To this end, the candidate is expected to work independently and actively contribute to the group's research activities. This includes travelling to project meetings, workshops, and conferences worldwide, as well as writing reports, high-profile scientific publications, presentations and related applications for further research funding

Your field of activity:

  • Implementation of programmable optical fiber systems and their application for information processing
  • Design, implementation and electronic interfacing of fiber-based optical assemblies and systems
  • Implementation of algorithms for system optimization, training and data analysis of such complex optical systems
  • Application of evolutionary optimizers and neuromorphic algorithms to physical models and modular optical systems
  • Assist in the organization of the optical lab and code and data repositories
  • Supporting the team in numerical and computational issues

Your qualification:

  • Master of Science or Engineering (or comparable degree) with strong background in computational sciences, or electrical engineering or related fields

Your knowledge and skills:

  • Profound knowledge in programming (especially MATLAB and python)
  • Experience with neuromorphic computing concepts and algorithms (e.g., neural network, statistical learning, support-vector machines), device integration (IoT, device interfacing), or simulation of systems of equations (numerical modelling of differential equations) is preferred
  • Experience in one of the fields of fiber technology, optics, photonics, materials science, or physics is desirable
  • Good communication and writing skills in English (working language)

We offer:

  • A genuinely integrative and interdisciplinary work environment: Being situated on the Beutenberg Campus in Jena, the Leibniz IPHT hosts more than 400 employees from around the world who work at the interface of physics, biochemistry, technology, data sciences, and medical sciences to develop the sensing solutions of tomorrow. The Smart Photonics group, in particular, currently comprises a diverse team of postdocs and master's students from physics, engineering, photonics and medical photonics.
  • A thorough and comprehensive personal training: Our primary focus points are transferring good practices in scientific working and outreach.
  • World-class equipment and facilities: The Leibniz IPHT offers a large variety of physics, chemistry, and biology labs at the highest standards. Moreover, it holds state-of-the-art fiber-drawing and clean-room facilities (incl. lithography units), microfluidics fabrication and big data computing units. Simply everything your interdisciplinary heart beats for.


Salary is in accordance with the regulations of the TV-L.

About us:

We are a modern, internationally oriented research institute. We value diversity and therefore welcome all applications - regardless of gender, disability, nationality or ethnic and social background. If women are underrepresented in the area of ​​the advertised position, they will be given preferential consideration if they are equally qualified.

Further information:

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Mario Chemnitz, Email:


Please send your application with the required documents (personal letter of motivation, curriculum vitae, certificates, references) by March 31, 2023, quoting reference number 1156, preferably by email in a pdf file to:

Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena e. V.

Human Resources

Albert-Einstein-Straße 9, 07745 Jena


Code: 1156


It should be noted that applications with a personal letter of motivation (no ChatGPT!), which concretely states a personal research and development goal in the Smart Photonics group, are strongly preferred (guarantee for the job interview).

Simply apply via our job portal ( by clicking on the “Apply” button:

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