Microscopy imaging and probing using high order mode fibres - DC7

Job Offer from November 04, 2022

The Super-Resolution Group of the Molecular Spectroscopy Department at Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP), Mainz Germany is seeking a candidate for a PhD position to research multi-mode optical fiber based  laser systems for applications in microscopy imaging and probing.

The PhD student will participate in an international team in an EU-funded Doctoral Network project called HOMTech. The project consists of 10 Ph.d. students at 6 universities and one company. The project has partners from five different EU countries. All, 10 Ph.d. projects are within the overall theme of higher order modes in optical fibers for application in telecommunication, optical sensing, and imaging.

This Ph.D. project will take place at MPIP. Apart from the time at MPIP there will be secondments of minimum 3 months at the Technical University of Denmark and at OFS, Denmark. There will also be common meetings with the other 9 Ph.D. students in the doctoral network, including 5 training schools.

As a participant of the project, the PhD student will become part of a team at MPIP with expertise in microscopy and spectroscopy. The activities within the project will benefit from synergies with other projects in the group as well as with other activities at the department. The supervisors will be Professor Mischa Bonn and Dr. Xiaomin Liu at MPIP.

Responsibilities and tasks

Doughnut beams have played critical roles in various light focusing based applications, including optical tweezers and optical trapping, far-field optical nanoscopy/super-resolution microscopy, single molecule dipole orientation measurements, and quantum communication. These beams are typically generated using free-space optics, which requires precise alignment that is prone to long-term drifts. Fibres that support high-order modes (HOMs) are promising solutions to achieve complex output beams that are inherently user-friendly, since such beams rely on in-fibre mode excitation techniques (e.g., long period gratings or fused fibre couplers) and provide not only compactness and low-cost, but more importantly the required stability. Currently, research on high numerical aperture focusing of HOM-fibre-based doughnut beams is limited, and consequently, also investigations of their potential within imaging applications, for example of single molecule imaging are in its infancy

 Based on HOMs generated doughnut beams and the investigation of its corresponding beam profiles after focusing with a high NA objective, this project aims to realize one advanced microscopy platform for applications in super-resolution imaging and single molecule dipole probing.

The project will among others consist of the following tasks:

  1. Realize systematic analysis tool for the focusing properties of modes from HOM fibers;
  2. Design microscope with high quality of light beams generated by suitable HOM fiber techniques; Realize fast mode tuning (optional);
  3. Solve specific bio- and single molecules questions: e.g. probe dipole directions of single and aggregated nanomaterials.



HOMTech PhD student


The ideal PhD candidate should have an experimental background in physics, optical engineering electronic engineering or similar, and holds a Master’s degree in one of these or related fields.

Further obligations: The doctoral candidate (DC) is expected to travel to network partners under two secondments for a typical total duration of 3-5 months. Additionally, the DC is expected to participate in outreach activities including, but not limited to, YouTube videos, social media updates, participation in public events and campaigns, as well as dissemination to popular press. Furthermore, due to the mobility rules of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie program, the applicant must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date.



Salary and appointment terms

The yearly salary before tax will comprise a living allowance of €40,106 and a mobility allowance of €7,200. An additional allowance of €6,000 may be payable but is dependent on individual family circumstances. The period of employment is 3 years.

The workplace is MPIP, Mainz, Germany. Mainz is located next to Frankfurt, which has one of the largest airports in Europe, thus providing convenient international access. The picturesque Rheingau region provides various recreational opportunities and offers a high quality of life.


Application procedure

For the PhD position application, the following documents are needed:

•           CV

•           Letter of motivation

•           Records on previous education and certificates (Master, Bachelor or Diploma)

•           Proof of language skills (English and/or German, if applicable)

•           Names of at least two references or two reference letters from former supervisors

Please send your application to liuxiaomin@mpip-mainz.mpg.de. Review of applications will start on Nov. 15th 2022 and will continue until the position has been filled or no later than than 1 January 2023. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.

We are committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in the workforce and encourage applications from such qualified individuals. Further, we seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply.


Further information

Further information may be obtained from Dr. Xiaomin Liu (liuxiaomin@mpip-mainz.mpg.de)

You can read more about MPIP at https://www.mpip-mainz.mpg.de/en/home.

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