PhD Position Femtosecond Photoacoustic Imaging Through Engineered Acoustic Metamaterials

PhD Position Femtosecond Photoacoustic Imaging Through Engineered Acoustic Metamaterials

Published Deadline Location
26 Oct 10 Dec Delft

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Challenge: Enabling of photoacoustic imaging.
Change: Usage of metamaterial interfaces to structurally shape photoacoustic waves for enhanced detection.
Impact: Novel high resolution approach to cell biology imaging.

Job description

Acoustic metamaterials for photoacoustic imaging

Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is an emerging biomedical imaging modality for probing the optical properties of tissues at deep penetration depths. PAI leverages the photoacoustic effect wherein non-ionizing laser pulses targeted at soft tissues cause localized heating leading to thermal expansion and eventually wideband ultrasonic acoustic emissions.

Acoustic Metamaterials (literally meaning – “beyond materials”) are architected materials with carefully engineered microstructures to exhibit material and acoustic properties that are either tunable or exotic (oftentimes not found in nature). Supported by advances in additive manufacturing, the miniaturization of structures to material length scales enables wave manipulations such as acoustic wave guiding, tunable acoustic bandgaps, negative acoustic refractive indices, acoustic cloaking, acoustic superlensing, and many more.

In this project, these two scientific fields are combined to overcome sensitivity challenges in photoacoustic signals detection. By designing acoustic metamaterials to be used as intermediate medium between tissue and transducer, high frequency photoacoustic signals could potentially be detected and even amplified.

Your role in this project

You will work in between two departments, the precision and microsystems engineering (PME) and the material science engineering (MSE) departments. You will design and fabricate acoustic cavities for photoacoustic signal detection. As part of a team, you will build an experimental setup to test these materials. You will also develop algorithms for imaging in line with the acoustic cavities designed. Embedded in two departments you’ll find a collaborative, open and friendly atmosphere which you will foster and push even more forward.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You thrive on solving existing problems with novel solutions, generating new knowledge and methods. You’re a team worker, resourceful and not afraid to seek collaborations to advance your research. You understand that experimental work takes a string basis on theoretical work and feel at ease with numerical modelling and simulations. Furthermore, you have the following qualifications, knowledge and skills: 

  • A MSc degree in biomedical, mechanical engineering, or physics;
  • A strong interest in both simulation/modelling and experimental work;
  • Experience with development of optical and acoustic systems is a plus;
  • Good programming and signal processing skills in MATLAB or python; affinity with machine learning is a plus;
  • Good communication skills and high motivation for teamwork;
  • Good academic writing and presentation skills in English as reflected by minimum scores of IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL IBT 100.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02979


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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