PhD projects in computational imaging (optics/photonics/physics) with junior scientist salary/scholarship (open to everyone)

Starting date: 1st September 2022

Duration: 4 years

Funding: Junior Scientist Salary

Location: Center of Photonics and Computational Imaging, University of Tartu, Estonia, Europe

Computational imaging uses computational methods to enhance the image quality, resolution or add spatial dimension to the image beyond the physical or technical limits of the imaging system. It has applications in microscopy, medicine, robotics, remote sensing and astronomy and the range of applications increases with advances in sensor technology, computer algorithms and on-board computing capacity which by nature makes the research interdisciplinary.

We are recruiting 2 PhD students for a fully funded PhD positions in Computational Imaging/Optics/Photonics/Physics for a period of 48 months with a start date in September 2022 within the Computational Imaging Group, Lab of Physical Optics, Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Tartu. The position is supported by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857627 CIPHR - Computational Imaging and Processing in High Resolution.  

You will join our team not only as a PhD student but as a junior researcher with all the perks and responsibilities. You can sharpen your scientific profile in an evolving and exciting research environment and advance in your professional career. We offer a scientifically and intellectually inspiring atmosphere.

About the projects:

1. Multispectral multidimensional imaging using an ensemble of self-interfering spatially incoherent chaotic scalar waves

In the recent years, chaos-inspired imaging technologies (CI2-Tech) have gained a lot of attention. Most of the CI2-Tech approaches involve scattering of the light diffracted from an object to distinctly encode many spatio-spectral information channels in one intensity distribution. The doctoral project titled “Multispectral multidimensional imaging using an ensemble of self-interfering spatially incoherent chaotic scalar waves,” unifies all the existing CI2-Tech methods under a single roof. The doctoral project aims to create a computational optics framework for statistical optical experiments. In this framework, an ensemble of chaotic scalar waves with interesting intensity distributions can be synthesized, their composition and mutual interactions can be controlled. The project aims to access the non-linear regions of imaging characteristics by mapping every object point to an ensemble of special optical intensity distributions. Consequently, the previous CI2-Tech methods are only a special case in the proposed framework. The doctoral thesis aims to create a novel hybrid reconstruction algorithm based on cross-correlation, maximum likelihood and optimization to reconstruct the recorded intensity distributions into a 5D image. The doctoral project will generate new knowledge in statistical optics, reconstruction mechanisms and imaging technologies which has potential for developing advanced optical microscopes.

2. Interferenceless coded aperture correlation holography with deterministic optical fields Interferenceless coded aperture correlation holography (I-COACH) is an incoherent holography technique capable of reproducing three-dimensional (3D) information of an object from a single camera shot. 

In I-COACH, the light from an object was modulated by a quasi-random phase mask and the scattered intensity pattern was recorded by an image sensor. The 3D object information was reconstructed by processing the object intensity pattern with the pre-recorded 3D PSF distributions. While I-COACH can record and reconstruct 3D information without two beam interference unlike its’ precursors such as self-interference digital holography methods, it is not without problems. The need for scattering in I-COACH and the need for recording PSFs increases the noise and reduces the resolving power respectively. The speckle distribution generated in I-COACH and the reconstruction mechanism involving cross-correlation with PSF precludes the introduction of special imaging characteristics. The doctoral thesis titled “Interferenceless coded aperture correlation holography with deterministic optical fields,” is a game changing approach which is expected to address the above challenges of I-COACH and expand the applicability of I-COACH to power sensitive areas. The proposed doctoral thesis will investigate the special beams with interesting spatial intensity distributions for 3D imaging applications. The doctoral thesis will create a unified artificial intelligence-based image reconstruction algorithm for reconstruction of 3D information for special beams. The outcome of the doctoral thesis is expected to lay the foundations of a new generation of imaging and microscopy technologies.

About us

Center of Photonics and Computational Imaging (CPCI) is a research unit within the University of Tartu (UTARTU), that has been developed and funded by EU H2020 CIPHR grant. The goal of this grant is to build a center that will become a world leader in Computational Imaging, a sub field of photonics. This center connects already strong scientific fields in UTARTU such as optics and spectroscopy, machine vision, remote sensing, electronics and informatics, and enables them to thrive further by combining expertise and resources to investigate complex multidisciplinary problems.


Prof. Vijayakumar Anand has published more than 100 journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters. He is also an author of a bestselling textbook on Design and Fabrication of Diffractive Optical Elements with MATLAB, published by SPIE press. He has served and currently serving as a Guest Editor for Applied Sciences, Journal of Imaging and Nature Springer Applied Physics B: Laser and Optics. He has been elected to the editorial board of Nature Springer Applied Physics B: Laser and Optics and Chinese Optics Letters. His current research interests include computational optics, imaging, digital holography, diffractive optics, and microfabrication. He received the Ph.D. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India in 2015. He was appointed as Scientist C in Indian Space Research Organization in 2011 and received the prestigious Monbukagakusho (MEXT) fellowship from the Japanese Government and worked at Osaka University, Japan from 2010-2012. He received the prestigious PBC outstanding postdoctoral fellowship from the Israel Government and worked at Ben Gurion University, Israel from 2015-2018. From 2019, he was a Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise Fellow (Nanophotonics Fellow) at Swinburne University, Australia. Currently, he is an adjunct Associate Professor at the same University.

Your qualifications:

A good understanding of theoretical and experimental optics with emphasis on computational imaging. The candidate is expected to have completed Master’s degree in Physics (Optics), Photonics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, or a related field. We are looking for a highly creative and self-motivated individual with expertise in experimental optics, imaging, holography, computational optics and micro/nanofabrication. Enthusiasm (and not necessarily experience) for the technology, and motivation to update and expand knowledge and skills is required. Excellent interpersonal skills, strong communication skills with a positive, personable, and professional attitude, desire to work effectively in a project-driven environment, both independently and as part of a team are needed.

Ready to apply? 

In the Faculty of Science and Technology, Univeristy of Tartu, Estonia, all candidates must submit a motivation letter and a CV in the Dreamapply together with the application. Candidates will be assessed on the basis of a motivation letter and an entrance interview. (except for the science education, where a draft for doctoral project must be submitted instead of a motivation letter). Candidates will apply for announced projects.

All applications must include:

1) official copy of the diploma and diploma supplement (transcript/mark sheet) of the preceding study levels (both bachelor’s and master’s) in the original language;
2) official translation of the diplomas and diploma supplements into English if applicable;
3) proof of English language proficiency at a satisfactory level;
4) copy of the passport page stating the applicant´s personal particulars;
5) motivation letter;
6) curriculum vitae (relevant form).


15th May 2022

For more information

Please contact Aravind Simon (