- Artificial intelligence for quantum technologies and photonics (Open)

Pre-doctoral position
Position category:
Reference: 2023/89
Duration: 1 year
Application deadline: 30/09/2023
For more info contact the supervisors:
Alexey Nikitin
Luis Martín Moreno
How to apply

We are currently accepting applications for the above mentioned position. This is a unique opportunity for highly motivated students recently graduated from the University in Physics or related fields to gain research experience in one of DIPC’s high-profile research teams. 

The role

The main goal of this PhD project is to use and develop machine learning algorithms to look for novel low-dimensional quantum materials, for their use in nanophotonics and optoelectronics. Within this project, we aim to incorporate AI to search for novel materials (e.g. by enriching van der Waals crystals with additional atoms) which can support polaritons –hybrid light-matter oscillations– with some unusual and specific properties. By converting light into ultra-confined polaritons, one can introduce new concepts for the manipulation of light on the nanoscale and improve the performance of existing nanoscale optoelectronic devices. Specifically, during the PhD project, the PhD student will address several objectives (incorporating machine learning algorithms to all of them):

  • Design of low-dimensional quantum materials on the atomic level, basing on the density function theory (DFT).
  • Design of nanostructures (nanoengineering) made of novel quantum materials with predetermined optical properties.
  • Modelling of optical phenomena on the nanoscale, such as anomalous reflection and refraction of light, nanofocusing, canalization etc.

The successful PhD candidate will be embedded into a very strong research environment of Donostia International Physics Center in Spain. The PhD student will collaborate with leading experts in nanooptics and quantum materials. The project is, to a large extent, theoretical, but it implies a close collaboration with various experimental groups.

Desired background & competences


The successful candidate will devote most of the time to research studies, which imply participating in the research project. Research studies will include:

  • Analysis of the literature in the field of research
  • Planning of research work, participation in the formulation of research questions
  • Analytical calculations, numerical simulations, and data analysis
  • Writing scientific articles and preparation of conference presentations
  • Active participation in group meetings and presentation of well-documented results


To be admitted as a PhD student, the candidate must have a completed a Master's degree in physics, technical physics, or equivalent. The successful candidate must have demonstrated the following:

  • Successful studies in condensed matter physics
  • Being familiar with electronic structure of solids, and particularly with lattice vibrations
  • Being familiar with electromagnetic phenomena and propagation of waves

The successful candidate must be:

  • Skilled in academic writing
  • Capable to express ideas and results in a clear and structured manner
  • Capable of preparing clear and concise summaries of ongoing work
  • Be able to document the workflow in a way that is searchable and easy to understand for other group members
  • Excellent command of English

Meriting skills include knowledge in:

  • Density Function Theory
  • Machine Learning
  • Nanooptics/Photonics
  • Programming and data analysis (e.g. Python, Matlab, Wolfram Language etc.)

Working conditions

  • Estimated annual gross salary: Salary is commensurate with qualifications and consistent with our pay scales
  • Target start date: 01/10/2023

We provide a highly stimulating research environment, and unique professional career development opportunities.

We offer and promote a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applicants regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The center

DIPC is a research center whose mission is to perform and catalyze cutting-edge research in physics and related disciplines, as well as to convey scientific culture to society. Located in Donostia / San Sebastian (Basque Country, Spain), DIPC was born from a strategic alliance of both public institutions and private companies. Since 2008 DIPC is a 'Basque Excellence Research Center' (BERC) recognized by the Basque Government's Department of Education. In 2019, DIPC was also recognized as a "Severo Ochoa" Excellence Center by the Spanish Research Agency.

About the team

We offer a PhD position in artificial intelligence (AI) for quantum technologies with applications for nanophotonics. The PhD candidate will work under the direct supervision of Alexey Nikitin (DIPC, supervisor) and Luis Martin-Moreno (Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragon, INMA, co-supervisor, https://inma.unizar-csic.es/en/home/ ).

The PhD candidate will be incorporated into Donostia International Physics Center (https://dipc.ehu.eus/en?set_language=en) and will be enrolled in the graduate school of the University of Basque Country (https://www.ehu.eus/en/en-basic-facts).

How to apply

The application should include the following documents in the corresponding order:

  • Statement about why the candidate is interested and suitable for the announced position (1 page)
  • CV (1 page)
  • Copies of degree certificates and grades. Please indicate in percent the average grade for bachelor and master studies.
  • Master thesis (or a draft thereof)
  • Contact details of two references
  • Other documents that the applicant wishes to refer to.

The reference of the specific opening to which the candidate is applying should be stated in the subject line, and the application must be received before the application deadline.

Although candidates are welcome to contact the project supervisors to know further details about the proposed research activity, please be aware that the application will be evaluated only if it is submitted directly to the email address listed below as application email.

Selection process

Applications received by the deadline will be evaluated by a Committee designed by the DIPC board on the basis of the following criteria:

  • CV of the candidate (60%)
  • Adequacy of the candidate’s scientific background to the project (20%)
  • Reference letters (10%)
  • Other: Diversity in gender, race, nationality, etc. (10%)

Evaluation results will be communicated to the candidates soon after. Positions will only be filled if qualified candidates are found.

The DIPC may revoke its decision if the candidate fails to join by the appointed time, in which case the position will be awarded to the candidate with the next highest score, provided it is above 50 (out of 100).

However, the selected candidate may keep the position if, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, the candidate duly justifies the reasons why he or she cannot join before the specified deadline, and as long as the project allows it.


Although the call is for a PhD Student, the contract will have category of Research Assistant.