PhD position - Computational Microscopy and Complex Wavefront Shaping

The project

We are developing radically new approaches to microscopy. Our aim is to obtain sharp images of structures deep inside the brain or far under the skin. Such materials are non-homogeneous and scatter light randomly, so that usually all image information is fully scrambled.

Complex wavefront shaping

At the University of Twente, we pioneered a technique called 'complex wavefront shaping' that allows one to numerically invert the scattering matrix of a specific sample and construct a highly structured wave that focuses right through a given object. The biggest challenge is that in most cases the scattering matrix of the sample cannot be measured directly, making it highly non-trivial to find the matching wavefront. We will approach this challenge with a multi-disciplinary approach, combining aspects from computer sciences, mathematics and physics.


Are you ready to take up this challenge? We are looking for a quick thinker with strong analytical skills. In addition:

  • You like to solve complex mathematical problems in an applied context.
  • You have a Master’s degree in Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Physics, or related discipline, with a demonstrated affinity for solving mathematical problems.
  • You are an experienced scientific programmer, proficient in MATLAB, Mathematica, Python or C++ or other language.
  • You like to work in an inspiring, multi-disciplinary team. You are able to explain complex mathematical concepts to non-mathematicians and translate your ideas into laboratory experiments.

Our team

Our multidisciplinary team consists of physicists, electrical and biomedical engineers, and biologists. As pioneers of the field, we work on the forefront of complex wavefront shaping and collaborate closely with other leading groups around the globe. We offer a very open, dynamic, and collaborative work environment.

What will you do?

In this project you will:

  • Develop algorithms to focus light inside scattering materials. You will develop machine learning techniques based on state-of-the-art scattering theory, and the latest insights in wavefront shaping.
  • Explore approaches from information theory and inverse problems to extract every bit of useful information from scattered light.
  • Work together closely with experimentalists to demonstrate these novel concepts in proof-of-concept optical experiments. Depending on your interests, you may also conduct optical experiments yourself.
  • Publish your work in leading journals and present at top conferences.

Information and application

Do you want to help us to revolutionize microscopy? Please upload your application, including a letter of motivation, CV, a transcript of MSc grades and names/contact information of 2 or more references to before February 1 2018. An interview and presentation will be part of the selection procedure. Please motivate your interest and fitness for the project, paying specific attention to the aspects of algorithm design or inverse problems. Applications with non-specific motivation letters are not taken into consideration.Funding for this project was obtained from the European Research Council.

For more information you can contact dr. ir. Ivo M. Vellekoop You can find more information about the group and about our research at

Our offer

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the gross salary for a PhD increases from € 2.174 per month in the first year to € 2.779,- the last year, plus a holiday allowance (8%), and end-year bonus (8,3%) of the annual salary. The assignment is four years, the length of the PhD program in the Netherlands, with a go/no-go assessment at the end of the first year. The University of Twente provides excellent campus facilities, and actively supports your professional and personal development.

The organization

You will work in the Biomedical Photonic Imaging research group of MIRA – the Institute for Biomedical Engineering. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Research and new technology that drives progress in society. The university has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

Within the Faculty of Science & Technology 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, materials science, nanotechnology and medicine. Our research enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, and we work together intensively with industrial partners and researchers worldwide.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status.