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PhD Student Position (f/m)

PhD Student Position (f/m)
chair: links:

Dr. Elias Hamann

Design, characterization and application of magnifying X-ray crystal optics (Bragg Magnifier) for dose-efficient imaging of biological model organisms


This PhD position is part of the collaborative research project CODE-VITA funded by the federal German ministry (BMBF). Within this collaboration and beyond, the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) of the University Heidelberg collaborates closely with the Laboratory for Application of Synchrotron Radiation (LAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in the field of biological X-ray imaging. The aims of the project are the dose minimization for radiation sensitive samples as well as obtaining a very high spatial resolution while at the same time maintaining a larger field of view. These challenges will be tackled by suitable crystal optics, which make use of asymmetrical Bragg diffraction in order to directly magnify the X-ray beam (so-called Bragg Magnifier). This technique is still being actively refined and extended, continuously opening new routes for approaching hot topics of modern X-ray science.


Job description

Within the CODE-VITA project team, your main task will be the design, specification, and characterization of a Bragg Magnifier setup, consisting of an arrangement of diffracting semiconductor crystals, the corresponding mechanics as well as a suitable detector system. Exemplarily, the dose efficiency of this system will be shown by 3D and 4D imaging of biological model organisms. To a certain extent, the work also comprises the modelling of the image formation and the adaption of suitable reconstruction algorithms based on previously developed software tools. Finally, the Bragg Magnifier performance will be compared to existing X-ray imaging techniques in terms of dose efficiency and image quality.


Employment/Place of work:

The employment will be at the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) of the University of Heidelberg. The place of work will be at the COS and to a large extent at KIT as permanent guest within the CODE-VITA project. The dissertation will be defended at the faculty of physics at KIT.



A successful candidate is required to hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) in physics or materials science, preferably specialized on crystal optics and/or X-ray diffraction. We expect you to demonstrate an independent working attitude and to publish your results in internationally renowned journals. We require you to show a strong interest in experimental work, design of cutting edge instrumentation for synchrotron sources, and to a certain degree in the simulation of the image formation and reconstruction. The working language is English, which you should speak and write confidently. Prior research experience in X‑ray optics, diffraction and imaging will be considered strong assets. The applicant shall be experienced in programming and simulation (Matlab, C/C++, Python or equivalent) and data analysis.


Salary, Contract duration:

The remuneration occurs on the basis of the wage agreement of the civil service in TV-L.

The position is initially limited to 3 years.



Application deadline is the 15.09.2017.

Students nearing the completion of their degree are also encouraged to apply.

Applications (CV, motivation letter, certificates, and reference letters if available) are to be sent by e-mail to sekretariat.wittbrodt@cos.uni-heidelberg.de. Informal enquiries are also welcomed, and should be addressed to Dr. Elias Hamann (elias.hamann@kit.edu).


The University of Heidelberg is an equal opportunity employer. Women are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants with disabilities will be preferentially considered if equally qualified.