STI – PhD studentship position in Nanophotonics for Biosensing

Updated: about 4 hours ago

The BIOnanophotonic Systems (BIOS) Laboratory at the School of Engineering of EPFL Switzerland (led by Prof. Hatice Altug) has an open PhD position. We are looking for a talented & motivated PhD student to work on experimental projects in nano-optics, nanophotonic biosensing and spectroscopy research.

Nanophotonics excels at confining light into nanoscale optical mode volumes and generating strongly enhanced light matter interactions. Through engineered structures, nanophotonics can manipulate light in ways that are not possible to achieve with diffraction limited optics and natural materials. The unique nano-scale effects have been unveiling a plethora of fundamentally new optical phenomena, yet an important issue ahead for the field is the development of novel devices and applications for broader impact. To this end, our laboratory is focused on the applications of nanophotonics for bioanalytical and biomedical devices using plasmonic/dielectric metasurfaces, microfluidics, nanofabrication, and data analysis.

In a well-established laboratory, the student will experimentally investigate novel nanophotonic materials (e.g. metasurfaces) and system integration to study nano-optical effects and develop new biosensors. Strategies include engineering/designing of metasurfaces for improved sensing performance, incorporation of novel capture probes for continuous sensing, optofluidic/system integration, and application demonstrations. Some of the main research tasks include preparing a research plan, designing new metasurfaces with electromagnetic principles, nano/microfabrication of optimized device components, building optical set-ups, optical characterization, establishing bioassays, performing optical/bio experiments, analyzing data, reporting and disseminating research outcome.

Candidate profile:

  • Solid background and training with curriculum in optics, photonics and electromagnetics is required.
  • Hands-on experimental experience in optical microscopy, spectroscopy and optical/electronic instrumentation, building/adapting optical set-ups & performing optical characterization is preferred.
  • Experience in nanophotonics including electromagnetic design through optical simulations (e.g., CST, Lumerical, COMSOL), nanofabrication and nanostructure characterization is preferred.
    Experience in surface chemistry and bioassay development (e.g. for biosensing) is a plus.
  • Experience in programming user interfaces for devices/instrumentation, set-up automation, data extraction (e.g., Python, Matlab, LabVIEW).
  • Experience in data analysis using signal processing tools (also AI, DNN).
  • Independent, self-driven, creative, solution-oriented, open-minded, flexible and team-player.
  • Outstanding academic record (indicated by grades at BS/MS courses) and involvement in research (e.g. publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals/conferences).
  • BS & MS degree in Physics or Engineering.
  • Minimum 4-year BS degree is necessary for acceptance by EPFL Doctoral School.

We offer:

  • Opportunity to work on multidisciplinary and cutting-edge projects using nanophotonics and spectroscopy for bioanalytical and biomedical applications.
  • Opportunity to access state-of-the-art research facilities and laboratory resources.
  • Opportunity to collaborate with world-leading research groups and companies through an international consortium under European MCSA Innovative Training Networks CONSENSE project ( ).
  • EPFL is an international and top ranking engineering university. It offers a young, stimulating, dynamic, interdisciplinary, international and friendly working environment, a broad range of scientific training and networking events and hosts a vibrant entrepreneurial community.
  • EPFL is an equal-opportunity employer. Candidates will be recruited based on merit.

Group website: – Group leader: Prof. Hatice ALTUG

Nanophotonics, optics, spectroscopy, biosensors, continuous sensing, on-chip and device integration

Representative papers from BIOS:

1- Imaging-based spectrometer-less optofluidic biosensors based on dielectric metasurfaces for detecting extracellular vesicles. Jahani et al. Nature Communications. Vol. 12, No.3246 (2021).
2- Rapid and Digital Detection of Inflammatory Biomarkers Enabled by a Novel Portable Nanoplasmonic Imager. Belushkin et al. Small. Vol. 16, No.1906108 (2020).
3- Ultrasensitive Hyperspectral Imaging and Biodetection Enabled by Dielectric Metasurfaces. Yesilkoy et al. Nature Photonics. Vol. 13 p.390-396 (2019).

Relevant review papers:
1- Clinical Opportunities for Continuous Biosensing and Closed-Loop Therapies. Li et al. Trends in Chemistry. Vol. 2, p.310-340 (2020).
2- Advances and Applications of Nanohotonic Biosensors. Altug et al. Nature Nanotechnology. Vol. 17, p.5-16 (2022).

Start date: As soon as possible

Contact: Please send your application with the subject line « 2022 PhD Position» to in a single pdf file containing following information: cover letter, CV, transcript, list of publications, and contact details of at least three referees.

To become a registered EPFL PhD student and member of the lab, the candidate needs to be accepted by one of the suitable doctoral schools at EPFL. We suggest doctoral school in photonics:

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