Two PhD positions in experimental materials physics: Computational microscopy (COMPMIC)

NTNU - Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet
Two PhD positions in experimental materials physics: Computational microscopy (COMPMIC)
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We have two PhD positions available in experimental materials physics. One of the positions will be at the Department of Physics at NTNU in Trondheim and one at the Department of Microsystems at USN in Horten. The positions are financed by the Research Council of Norway. The appointments have a duration of 3 years with the possibility of until 1 year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department(s).


Information about the Physics Department, NTNU

One position is organized in the Department of Physics. Currently, there are 27 professors, 10 associate professors, 7 adjunct professors, 70 PhD research fellows and 24 postdoctoral researchers appointed at the Department of Physics. Further information is available at: http://www.ntnu.no/fysikk/english.

The Department's research spans a broad spectrum of natural sciences and technology, which in turn allows us to offer an education that provides a solid basis for future careers. Physics research is carried out in experimental as well as theoretical fields, often across conventional boundaries between disciplines trough external collaborations. The Department's central research areas are biophysics, nanoscience, surface physics, modern optics, astrophysics, solar energy, materials science, soft matter physics, and medical technology. Research staff at the Department makes a special effort to increase the awareness and understanding of the importance and impact of physics in society.


Information about the Department of Microsystems, USN

The second position is organized in the Institute of Microsystems at University College Southeast Norway. Currently, there are 12 professors, 4 associate professors, 20+ PhD research fellows and  postdoctoral researchers appointed at the Department. Further information is available at: https://www.usn.no/research/postgraduate-studies-phd/our-phd-programmes/applied-micro-and-nano-systems/

The Department's research spans a broad spectrum of applied microsystems. The Department's central research areas are: MEMS device technology, ultrasound devices, imaging optics and optoelectronics, materials science and BioMEMS technology. The department is a part of Norwegian NorFab and NanoNetwork with access to all the facilities. It has a modern clean room with relevant equipment for device fabrication, packaging and characterization.



Job description

The term computational microscopy denotes recent efforts to improve microscopy using computers as an active part of the image formation process, typically enabling better resolution, larger fields of view, improved contrast, or 3D microscopy. The COMPMIC project will develop computational microscopy methods both using visual and X-ray radiation with the specific aim of nanoscale-imaging of surfaces and thin films, with applications in materials science, biology and medicine. Fourier ptychography (FP) is a recently developed coherent diffraction imaging (CDI) technique dependent on partially coherent light and numerical phase retrieval, which will be tailored for the specific needs of COMPMIC.

Sample systems of particular relevance to the visual light branch of the project include nanostructured surfaces and scanning of large area structures like wafers and optical disks. With the X-ray microscopy technique we plan to image soft materials and organic thin films in 3D. In both cases, micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) might also be studied.

The COMPMIC project is a collaboration between Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU; Prof. Breiby), University College of Southeast Norway (USN; Prof. Akram), Swiss Light Source - Paul Scherrer Institut (SLS - PSI; Dr. Menzel), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF; Dr. Konovalov), and University of Le Mans (Prof. Gibaud). The project partners are well positioned for this demanding project with an excellent knowledge base and outstanding research infrastructure.

The research work will involve designing, constructing and using state-of-the-art experimental setups. Sophisticated analysis and modelling of large datasets, also using statistical and machine learning methods, will be an integral part of the work. The three main targeted research objectives of the project are: (i) Development of visual-light Fourier ptychography microscope for studies of surfaces; (ii) Development of Fourier ptychography in the X-ray regime; (iii) FP microscopy studies of the sample systems as outlined above. In addition, the candidates are expected to participate actively in the group activities, including mentoring and co-supervision of students. Extended stays abroad are planned.

One PhD student will be placed in the group of Prof. Breiby at NTNU (Trondheim) to work mainly on the X-ray FP part of the project.

The other PhD student will be in the group of Prof. Akram at USN (Horten) to work predominantly on visual light FP microscopy and optical modelling. For this position, it might be considered to hire a postdoc rather than a PhD student, contingent upon the qualifications of the applicants.


The successful candidates should hold a MSc in physics. In exceptional cases, applicants with a background in related fields like biophysics, nanotechnology, or materials science, can be considered. The positions require a strong interest in experimental science and data analysis. Experience from nano-structural studies using scattering, diffraction or microscopy methods is desired. Knowledge of Fourier optics, coherent imaging or microscopy (e.g. ptychography or holography) would be considered an advantage. Strong computer programming skills (in e.g. Matlab, Python or C) are desired.

The successful candidates should be creative, ambitious and enthusiastic, with a strong ability to work independently and goal-oriented. Excellence in scientific writing and good oral presentation skills are requested. He/she should enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams, which is of particular importance in this multidisciplinary project.

The positions require spoken and written fluency in English.

Terms of employment

The appointment as PhD will be made according to Norwegian guidelines for universities and university colleges and to the general regulations regarding university employees.

NTNU's personnel policy objective is that the staff must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent.

The position as a PhD is remunerated according to the Norwegian State salary scale. There is a 2% deduction for superannuation contribution.

Further information can be obtained from:

  • Professor Dag W. Breiby (Project leader), Department of Physics, NTNU, Email: dag.breiby@ntnu.no
  • Professor Muhammad Nadeem Akram, Department of Microsystems, USN, Email: Muhammad.N.Akram@usn.no

The application

Applications with CV, certificates from Bachelor, Master, publications and other scientific works, certified copies of transcripts (certified copies of documentation on English language proficiency (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)) and reference letters should be submitted.

Indicate clearly in the application which of the two positions that is your primary choice. Incomplete applications might be rejected without further consideration.

All applications should be submitted through this page.

Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

The reference number of the position is: NV-9/18

Application deadline: 18.02.2018

Om arbeidsgiveren


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Trondheim, Horten,
7491 Trondheim
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