PhD projects in nonlinear optics and machine learning in Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg, Germany

Ultrafast laser pulses play a crucial role in modern science, in medicine as well as for a range of industrial applications. However, the generation of femtosecond pulses at high pulse repetition rates relies on very few available laser platforms, restricting these lasers to limited spectral regions. Very recent developments enable not only to compress ultrashort pulses to extremely short durations [1] but to tune the wavelength of ultrashort high-power lasers [2] by employing advanced optical pulse shaping methods and so-called nonlinear multi-pass cells. These demonstrations open a door to new pulse shaping schemes which have the potential to bring ultrafast lasertechnology into new spectral regions, pulse duration and peak power regimes.

To further advance nonlinear optical pulse shaping methods with close links to key applications, we are opening two PhD positions located in Hamburg, addressing complementary aspects of ultrafast pulse shaping on the numerical as well as on the experimental side:

PhD position 1: Conceptual Foundations for Machine Learning in Engineering Using the Example of Tailored Laser Pulse Forming

In this project, we will investigate the feasibility of employing neural networks to speed up optimization problems using the example of a challenging application-oriented problem from nonlinear photonics while striving to derive foundational principles underlying machine learning approaches. The project is set up as a joined activity between data sciences (TUHH, supervisor Prof. Nihat Ay) and laser physics (DESY/Helmholtz-Institute Jena, supervisors Dr. Christoph Heyl and Dr. Henrik Tünnermann) within the framework of the DASHH graduate school. More details can be found here:

Interested? Please get in contact with Dr. Christoph Heyl ( ) very soon (note: the application link on the above-mentioned website has expired already).

PhD position 2: Experimental Ultrashort Optical Pulse Shaping in Multi-Pass Cells

This project targets the experimental exploitation of pulse forming methods targeting in particular laser operation far outside the bandwidth of available laser gain media. The project is set up as a joint activity between Helmholtz-Institute Jena/DESY (supervisor Dr. Christoph Heyl) and the company Class 5 Photonics thus bringing along a very close connection to the photonics industry.

Interested candidates should get in contact with Dr. Christoph Heyl ( ).

[1] A.-L. Viotti et al., "Multi-pass cells for post-compression of ultrashort laser pulses," Optica 9 (2022).
[2] P. Balla et al., “Ultrafast serrodyne optical frequency translator”, accepted for publication in Nature Photonics (2022), preprint available here: