PD: Next-Generation Opto-Mechanical Sensors Designed with Artificial Intelligence
Delft University of Technology Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

PD: Next-Generation Opto-Mechanical Sensors Designed with Artificial Intelligence



Department/faculty: Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

Level: Doctorate

Working hours: 38.0 hours weekly

Contract: 1 year with possible extension to 2.5 years upon satisfactory performance

Salary: 3255 - 4274 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Closing date

    July 1, 2019


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering



The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.


The Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) focuses on developing knowledge and methods for small, innovative, high-precision devices and systems, such as precision equipment and scientific instrumentation for the high-tech industry. Increasing miniaturisation and function density along with improving precision, speed and reliability are the key topics in our work. Our approach is multidisciplinary, fundamental and inspired by industry needs.


The vacant position is in the Dynamics of Micro and Nanosystems (DMN) group. The group focuses on exploiting dynamics of small scale systems to create technologies that can lead to new products in the fields of scientific instrumentation, consumer electronics and healthcare. Our research spans from measuring and manipulating materials at the micro and nano scale, to the design of world-class MEMS and NEMS sensors and actuators.


Job description


Machine learning and deep learning techniques can help to guide the design process of the next generation of nanophotonics devices.  At the TU Delft, we have developed the world’s most sensitive micro-mirror force sensors using highly-strained membrane materials. Now we want to further advance this research by creating the next generation of opto-mechanical sensors via an exploratory data-driven design process. This postdoctoral position has a computational focus, but interest in learning new nanofabrication techniques is a plus.


At TU Delft we can manipulate and engineer the highly sensitive sensors with ultra-thin materials to realize unprecedented vibration isolation which allow us to measure atto-Newton forces. Since previous design methods were based on intuition, we want to create improved designs of mechanical sensors at the nanoscale where we aim to dramatically improve the performance of these sensors via a cooperative process between computer simulations guided by machine learning and state-of-the-art nanofabrication. This will allow us to create sensors we can test in our labs, which perform far beyond the capabilities of man-made designs. This represents a unique opportunity to create a new line of sensor research by coupling the latest in artificial intelligence design with the ability to nanofabricate very complex designs on a microchip.


As a postdoc you will be working on (1) simulation of the nanophotonics device by finite element analyses; (2) new machine learning methods applicable to the problem of interest; and (3) experimental validation of the new sensor. The goal is to invert the design process from trial-and-error to computationally data-driven.




Applicants must have the following qualifications:


    strong computational skills and simulation experience (proficiency in Finite Element Analysis is a strong requirement)


    a background in engineering or physics


    coding background and willingness to learn about deep/machine learning (past experience is a plus)


    an interest in quantum technologies and applications in nanophotonics industry


    the ability to work well in a collaborative setting


    experience with optics or experiments is a plus


    good understanding of the following articles of the two PIs is a plus:

    - R. A. Norte, M. Forsch. A. Wallucks, I. Marinković, S. Gröblacher, Physical Review Letters, 121, 030405 (2018)

    - M.A. Bessa, & S. Pellegrino, International Journal of Solids and Structures, 139, 174-188 (2018).


Conditions of employment


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.


Information and application


For information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr Richard Norte, Assistant Professor, email r.a.norte@tudelft.nl, tel: +31(0)15 2786504 or Dr Miguel Bessa, Assistant Professor, email m.a.bessa@tudelft.nl.

For information about the selecton procedure, please contact Irina Bruckner, HR advisor, email: i.bruckner@tudelft.nl.


Applications should include: a letter of motivation, a detailed CV including publication list, summary of academic record or research experience, abstract of PhD thesis (1 page), preferred starting date, proof of English language skills (if applicable), and names of three references. Please submit all these documents in one single pdf file (max. 6 MB) by 30 June 2019 to Irina Bruckner, application-3mE@tudelft.nl. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number 3mE19-32.



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