PhD-student Wavefront control of gain and loss to create active computational metasurfaces

Date posted June 23, 2020
Type PhD positions

The Resonant Nanophotonics group seeks a talented PhD student  to explore the physics of active metasurfaces with spatially varying gain, loss and nonlinearity.  Metasurfaces  are 2D arrangements of nanostructures that resonantly scatterer,  and jointly can act as analog signal processing components:  upon reflection or transmission of an input wavefront they can encode a complex optical function, programmed as an optical transfer function. This is the concept of “computational metasurfaces”.  

Viewed as an enabler for optical processing, metasurfaces are fundamentally limited by being linear and passive, i.e, by microscopically providing only loss, no gain, and no nonlinear optical response. In this project we aim to lift this fundamental limitation by realizing metasurfaces in which, within the nanoscale unit cell,  both optical loss and optical gain can be dynamically changed. The successful candidate will develop a pump-probe femtosecond scattering set up with spatial amplitude control over an optical pump beam generating gain, and study the fundamental limits of metasurface function acting on complex wavefronts.  Metasurfaces will be realized in the Amsterdam Nanolab. In addition to shaping optical gain with light, we will also shape it with nano-patterning, using top-down and bottom up methods to generate gain material superstructures,  such as quantum dot supersolids and lattices. These will at the same time act as the strongly scattering building blocks of metasurfaces and provide gain / cooperative emission upon pumping.  Thus this project has the potential to extend optical metasurfaces from passive to active devices,  from linear to non-linear optical processing,  and possibly also impacting developments in PT-symmetry and topological photonics.

About the group

The Resonant Nanophotonics team is part of the Center for Nanophotonics at AMOLF, and studies light-matter interactions in nanoscale systems, such as metasurfaces and plasmonic antennas. We investigate the fundamental physics associated with controlling spontaneous emission, lasing and cooperative emission  engineered by optical field confinement in tailored nanophotonic systems, as well as the applications they allow. Your project will involve the use and development of advanced optical measurement techniques and nanofabrication, with extensive support from the group leader and AMOLF technical staff. Within the group and the Center for Nanophotonics, we have a strong focus on stimulating development of young researchers in all professional aspects, as well as collaborations with other researchers at AMOLF and in national and international contexts.  For more information, see

This project will be a close collaboration with the team of Prof. Dr. Peter Schall at the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute, Institute of Physics (WZI-IOP), University of Amsterdam, located on the same campus as AMOLF. You will benefit from the expertise in self-assembly of quantum dot solids of the team at WZI-IOP, and will collaborate on joint experiments with members of the WZI-IOP lab. For more information on the UvA team, see


We seek an excellent candidate with a background in physics and experience with experiments in a field such as optics, microscopy, spectroscopy, photonics, or AMO physics. You will need to meet the requirements for an MSc-degree, to ensure eligibility for a Dutch PhD examination.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of four years.  After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted at the University of Amsterdam. Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students. AMOLF assists any new foreign PhD-student with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Prof.dr. A. F. Koenderink
Group leader Resonant Nanophotonics

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
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–  Resume;
–  Grade list;
–   List of at least two potential references whom we may contact

–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).

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Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled.

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