PhD scholarship in Integrated Photonic Circuits for All-Optical Reservoir Computing

Tuesday 11 May 21

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The Machine Learning in Photonic Systems group at DTU Fotonik seeks a candidate for a PhD project on integrated photonic circuits for all-optical reservoir computing. The 3-year PhD position is funded by the Villum Foundation through the Villum Young Investigator Programme: ‘OPTIC-AI – Optical processing unit for high-speed AI applications’.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The current digital implementations of machine learning algorithms are limited in speed and energy consumption by the electronics hardware platform they are implemented on. Moving towards all-optical implementations can overcome these challenges. Therefore the key objective of the OPTIC-AI project is to develop a new optical processing unit for implementing reservoir computing, and machine learning in general, on a photonic hardware platform.

Your Ph.D. project will be hosted within the OPTIC-AI team, part of the Machine Learning in Photonic Systems group at DTU Fotonik. 

Within the OPTIC-AI team (3 PhD students, 1 Postdoc and PI), you will work bridging between the numerical analysis of optimized integrated photonic circuits and the design of the circuits’ layout for fabrication in commercial foundries. The project will start by focusing on current demonstrations of optoelectronics reservoir computing and extreme machine learning to subsequently move into fully optical implementations to be realized with photonic integrated circuits (PICs). 

Your overall responsibility will be to use both numerical methods and process design kits (PDKs) to address some of (but not limited to) the research topics listed below:

  • Photonic neural networks
  • Optoelectronics implementation of reservoir computing
  • Silicon photonic circuits
  • Design of linear and nonlinear integrated waveguides
  • Optimization of photonic circuits to achieve specific functionalities

In general, you are expected to:

  • Help to develop numerical simulation code in Matlab/Python
  • Propose complex networks of photonic components to implement photonic reservoirs and neural networks.
  • Optimize PICs based on a combination of custom-developed code and commercial software (e.g. Lumerical)
  • Design PICs by using foundry-provided PDKs

Candidates are expected to have experience in optics, especially integrated optics. Additionally, the candidates are required to have good communication skills in English (both written and spoken) and a proven ability to work independently, plan, and carry out complicated tasks. 

The candidates are expected to describe their previous experience with numerical simulations and/or PIC design in the cover letter

Moreover, the following skills will receive additional consideration:

  • Theoretical understanding of extreme learning machine and/or reservoir computing
  • Theoretical understanding of nonlinear optics
  • Experience with numerical implementations of machine learning algorithms
  • Experience with machine learning frameworks such as Tensorflow and Pythorc
  • Innovative skills and the ability to generate new ideas

You must 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.

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 Senior Researcher Francesco Da Ros. 

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. 
The starting date is expected approx. September 2021.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Francesco Da Ros (

You can read more about DTU Fotonik on

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 30 June (Danish 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)

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

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

DTU Fotonik has 210 employees with competencies in optics and is one of the largest centers in the world based solely on research in photonics. Research is performed within optical sensors, lasers, LEDs, photovoltaics, ultra-high-speed optical transmission systems, bio-photonics, nano-optics, and quantum photonics. 

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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 12,900 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.