The computational nanooptics group at ZIB investigates advanced numerical techniques for simulating the interaction of light and nanoscale objects. The numerical methods developed and investigated in the group include finite-element methods with h-, p-, and hp-adaptivity, reduced basis methods, discontinuous Galerkin methods, and others. Applications range from fundamental research in physics to device design in the optical and semiconductor industries. This includes topics like optimization of photovoltaic devices for improved conversion efficiency, optimization of nanophotonic devices for quantum optics applications like quantum cryptography, design of plasmonic nano-antennas for optical near-field sensing, computational lithography for the design of state-of-the-art photolithography masks for computer chip manufacturers, 3D metamaterial design, and other topics.
JCMwave GmbH is a ZIB spin-off which develops and provides state-of-the-art finite element software. Within the JCMwave infrastructures the students of this project will have the opportunity to work with the newest development versions of finite-element software, to discuss with the development team in regular meetings, and to get an insight to industrial nanotechnology design challenges.
You will learn how to model and simulate nanophotonic setups. The underlying physical model is typically Maxwell’s wave equation in three spatial dimensions. A main challenge in such simulations is to obtain simulation results with upper bounds to numerical discretization errors within short computation times. Accurate and fast results are required e.g. for design optimizations in high-dimensional parameter spaces, and for parameter retrieval in optical metrology. For in-line applications in industrial quality control, speed and accuracy of parameter retrieval is currently a limiting factor to production speed. As shown in various benchmarks, the finite-element method is well suited to handle such computations, as its performance for highly accurate results can be orders of magnitude faster than competing methods. However, to further improve on its performance various properties of the method and of the models of interest can be exploited. These include higher-order vectorial finite elements, adaptive mesh refinement, hp-adaptivity, and automatic differentiation. This project will also concentrate on recent developments exploiting symmetries of the underlying models.
It is planned that the team members will specialize in the fields of mesh generation, finite element convergence and post-processing techniques, respectively. The team will then join the experiences from these fields to investigate methods for improved simulation efficiency, exploiting symmetries of modern nanophotonic devices. This includes validating results from automatic symmetry-detection methods.
The project should result in a comprehensive report to be presented at the end, and in a collection of Matlab- or Python-based automatic test routines. We expect that the report will meet high standards as we aim at a joint publication of the results in a peer-reviewed journal.
We welcome applications from highly motivated team-players who ideally
- have a background in physics, mathematics, computer science, or nano-technology,
- have experience in high-level scripting languages like Matlab or Python,
- have attended classes in optics, photonics, electromagnetism, or related topics,
- are fluent in English (written and spoken).