QuNEST Vacancies


Ph.D Vacancies in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions project QuNEST– Quantum Enhanced Optical Communication Network Security Doctoral Training

Research Programme Description

“QuNEST– Quantum Enhanced Optical Communication Network Security Doctoral Training” is hiring 11 Doctorate Candidates to be funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Networks. QuNEST is a highly interdisciplinary and intersectoral Doctoral Network composed of leading academic and industrial partners. The consortium consists of six academic institutions, namely: Eindhoven University of Technology, Technical University of Denmark, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, University of L’Aquila, University of Warsaw and University of Geneva as well as the companies: ADVA Network Security, Exatel, IDQuantique, Infinera Germany, KEEQuant (SME), NKT Photonics, Nokia Bell Labs France, Telecom Italia Mobile, Quantum Optical Technologies (SME), Quantum Telecommunications Italy and VPIphotonics and involves seven different European countries. The diverse consortium provides a unique and timely opportunity to train students in quantum physics and optical communications.

The driving force for QuNEST – is to provide high-level and highly collaborative training to 11 highly achieving Doctoral Candidates. This Doctoral Network is a highly multi-disciplinary, spanning areas of quantum physics, simulations, photonics, optical transmission, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) protocols, implementation security, error correction algorithms, digital signal processing, networks and control, requiring cross-disciplinary and intersectoral training targeted at creating experts in this emerging multidisciplinary field. The QuNEST Doctoral Candidates will be trained by doing research, in which they will demonstrate the potential of combining quantum and classical optical data signals in a single fiber with the aim to develop ground-breaking and commercially attractive, short-to-medium term solutions targeting European industry leadership in this highly challenging sector. QuNEST will train much-needed future scientists and engineers who will design, build, deploy and operate the next generation quantum secured optical communications infrastructure.

The Doctoral Network program is designed to follow technical, scientific, and transferable skills, enabling the next generation of young researchers/engineers with excellent skills in understanding the challenges of quantum secure optical communications. All Doctoral Candidates will carry out secondments and placements with industrial partners at the earliest possible opportunity. Transferable skills and technical workshops from industrial partners will be central to the training of the Doctoral Candidates.

Job descriptions of all 11 positions

Job Description (DC1) – Eindhoven University of Technology

  • Project title: Investigation of co-propagation quantum classical channels in point-to-multipoint
  • Host institution: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • PhD enrolment: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Supervisors: Chigo Okonkwo (Eindhoven University of Technology) and P.Jasiak (EXATEL) Mentor: I.Khan (KEEQuant)
  • Research Objectives: The doctoral candidate will investigate co-propagating classical and noise or crosstalk limited quantum channels through existing single-mode and multi-mode optical fibres. The candidate will develop models of classical and quantum signal co-propagation including nonlinear effects (SRS, SBS, FWM, etc) to understand the impacts on the transmission system. The doctoral candidate will characterise and compare models to experimental emulation of the channels. The candidate will design/develop and verify security implications of different multiplexing schemes (time, frequency, space) to enable effective copropagation of classical and quantum signals with research on specific performance implications.
  • Expected Results: 1) Model for the co-propagation of classical and quantum signals including nonlinear effects, 2) Development and demonstration of Modulation and multiplexing for quantum and classical signal co-propagation, 3) Demonstration of multiplexing and modulation of classical and quantum signals on the testbed at L’Aquila
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at ADVA Network Security, Quantum Telecommunications Italy, Telecom Italia Mobile and Infinera
  • Status: Candidate found

Job Description (DC2) – Eindhoven University of Technology

  • Project title: Development and analysis of modulation and shaping schemes for quantum key distribution protocols
  • Host institution: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • PhD enrolment: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Supervisors: A. Alvarado (Eindhoven University of Technology). Co-supervisor: L. Schmalen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) Mentor: A. Napoli (Infinera)
  • Research Objectives: To design modulation formats and error correction protocols for QKD schemes. DC2 will jointly design the protocol and the high-order (shaped) modulation format for practical settings. Information-theoretic security of QKD with such finite-cardinality constellations for the specific error correction protocol under consideration will be analysed. The susceptibility of the proposed techniques and constellations to finite-size effects resulting from a finite number of communication attempts will be investigated. The final goals are to increase the state-of-the-art secret key rates and transmission distances in practical QKD settings. The DC2 will tailor the proposed protocol and modulation format to the state-of-the-art error correction codes.
  • Expected Results: 1) Error correction protocol for QKD schemes with shaped modulation formats designed to maximize secret key rates and transmission distances, 2) Experimental assessment of the protocol in conjunction with industrial partner, 3) Extension of the techniques with advanced channel code designs
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Nokia Bell Labs France, University of L’Aquila
  • Status: Closed

Job Description (DC3) – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

  • Project title: Development of error correcting coding schemes for information reconciliation in QKD
  • Host institution: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • PhD enrolment: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Supervisors: L.Schmalen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). Co-supervisor: D. Zibar (Technical University of Denmark) Mentor: Amirhossein Ghazisaeidi (Nokia Bell Labs France)
  • Research Objectives: DC3 will design codes and protocols for reverse reconciliation in CV-QKD systems. This project significantly extends the state-of-the-art by investigating novel error correction methods for reverse reconciliation. DC will design novel methods for error correction, based on a detailed information-theoretic analysis of the channel and the protocol. DC will model the channel and aim for extremely low code rate codes. DC will approach codes beyond traditional designs based on the models provided by the industrial partner. The DC will focus on extremely low complexity of the implementation with a focus on the extremely low SNR region. During secondments DC3 will experimentally verify his codes in an extensive transmission DV/CV-QKD testbed, aiming to achieve record transmission distance and secret key rates.
  • Expected Results: 1) Reverse reconciliation scheme with modern codes, designed to maximize transmission rate and reduce system margins, 2) Experimental assessment of the schemes in conjunction with industrial partner, 3) Extension of technology towards DV- QKD schemes
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at Eindhoven University of Technology, Nokia Bell Labs France, IDQuantique
  • Status: Candidate found

Job Description (DC4) – Technical University of Denmark

  • Project title: Ultra-low noise laser sources for quantum communication
  • Host institution: Technical University of Denmark
  • PhD enrolment: Technical University of Denmark
  • Supervisors: D. Zibar (Technical University of Denmark). Co-supervisor: P. Bowen (NKT Photonics) Mentor: C. Okonkwo (Eindhoven University of Technology)
  • Research Objectives: DC4 will develop machine learning framework for amplitude and phase noise characterization of lasers with quantum limited performance for ultra-low noise systems for QKD. A special focus will be given to neural-network based state-space model for joint amplitude and phase noise tracking. The amplitude and phase noise, and their correlation properties will then be explored to develop a reinforcement learning framework to reduce laser amplitude and phase noise to their quantum limited values. The quantum noise limited laser sources will be tested and validated experimentally in collaboration with University of Warsaw and ADVA Network Security. DC4 will collaborate with University of L’Aquila team on the mathematical framework for investigating how machine learning can be used to extract fibre parameters at the quantum limit.
  • Expected Results: 1) Novel framework for quantum noise limited noise characterization of laser sources 2) Novel feedback framework for noise reduction 3) Quantum noise limited laser sources
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at University of Warsaw, Quantum Optical Technologies, ADVA Network Security, University of L’Aquila
  • Status: Candidate found

Job Description (DC5) – University of Warsaw

  • Project title: Optical signal modelling and characterization for QKD security analysis
  • Host institution: University of Warsaw
  • PhD enrolment: University of Warsaw
  • Supervisors: Konrad Banaszek (University of Warsaw). Co-supervisor: R Thew (University of Geneva) Mentor: G. Boso (IDQuantique)
  • Research Objectives: TDC5 will investigate effects of noise and impact on security of QKD protocols. Current security analysis for QKD has been carried out using models based on single modes carrying the signal. On the other hand, modulation, propagation, and demodulation of optical signals propagating in communication systems is interlinked with a plethora of intrinsically multimode noise effects and distortions for which an effective description is required to provide a bridge to new fibers. DC5 will work to maximise information throughput in a channel with QKD signals
  • Expected Results: 1) Effective models for QKD links incorporating noise and imperfections, resulting e.g. from interchange crosstalk and distortion introduced by the modulator/detector transfer functions, 2) Practical methods to quantify the security of QKD links based on accessible characteristics of the optical signals.
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at VPIphotonics, ADVA Network Security, IDQuantique
  • Status: Candidate found

Job Description (DC6) – University of L’Aquila

  • Project title: Modelling generation and transmission of signals for CV- and DV- QKD
  • Host institution: University of L’Aquila
  • PhD enrolment: University of L’Aquila
  • Supervisors: C. Antonelli (University of L’Aquila) Co-supervisor: C. Okonkwo (Eindhoven University of Technology). Mentor: D.Bacco (Quantum Telecommunications Italy)
  • Research Objectives: DC6 will study of the impact of propagation effects on the quality of the received signals and the extraction of the quantum key, in standard single-mode fibers and multi-core fibers, in the presence of classical signals. DC6 will: (i) develop analytical and numerical tools for studying the generation of quantum states and their propagation in optical fibers with various propagation-induced impairments, including the assessment of the relevant figures of merit; (ii) evaluate the feasibility of QKD in coexistence with frequency-multiplexed and spatially multiplexed classical signals. The devised models will be tested against experimental studies carried out in collaboration with the industrial partners, also through field trials in L’Aquila QKD and Eindhoven University of Technology’s QKD testbeds.
  • Expected Results: 1) Experimentally validated end-to-end models for CV-QKD and DV-QKD fiber-communications systems ;2) Characterization of the coexistence of classical and quantum signals, devising of optimal signaling schemes multiplexing strategies.
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at Nokia Bell Labs France, Eindhoven University of Technology, KEEQuant
  • Status: Open until 02/04/2024
  • Link to vacancy: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/201008

Job Description (DC7) – ADVA Network Security

  • Project title: Co-Existence of Classical Transmission and Continuous-Variable Quantum Key Distribution on System and Subsystem
  • Host institution: ADVA Network Security
  • PhD enrolment: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Supervisors: Tobias Fehenberger (ADVA Network Security). Co-supervisor. K. Banaszek (University of Warsaw) Mentor: Chigo Okonkwo (Eindhoven University of Technology)
  • Research Objectives: DC7 will study co-existence of classical WDM-based data transmission channel and quantum key distribution (QKD) systems from a system and subsystem level. On the system level, DC7 will carry out simulations, lab experiments and field trials dealing with the spectral assignment of CV-QKD channels in a regular WDM system and mitigation of distortions induced by classical WDM channel (Kerr nonlinear interference, stimulated Raman scattering). The reuse of existing telco transceiver cards and pluggables will be studied when QKD and WDM use different fibers. This will include techno-economic studies and a detailed component analysis to identify the minimum required changes to coherent sub-systems (Tx and Rx) required to enable low-cost short-distance CV-QKD for access, data centre interconnect and short metro networks.
  • Expected Results: 1) System-level simulation framework for optimized spectral assignment of QKD in WDM system, 2) technical and techno-economic roadmap for QKD-enabled telecommunications equipment
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at Technical University of Denmark, NKT Photonics, Eindhoven University of Technology, EXATEL, Quantum Telecommunications Italy, Telecom Italia Mobile
  • Status: Candidate found

Job Description (DC8) – Nokia Bell Labs France

  • Project title: Improving probabilistic constellation shaped CV-QKD for increased secret key rates
  • Host institution: Nokia Bell Labs France
  • PhD enrolment: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Supervisors: Amirhossein Ghazisaeidi. (Nokia Bell Labs France) Co-supervisor: L.Schmalen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) Mentor: Maria Freire Hermelo (Eindhoven University of Technology)
  • Research Objectives: DC8 will design Continuous Variable Quantum Key Distribution (CV-QKD) using commercially available telecoms components. Using lower cardinality modulation techniques allows for use of standard off the shelf components while offering increases in secret key rates (SKR) compared to Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) but maintaining easy integration with standard ADC/DAC. Our current system employing PCS QAM have limited SKR’s ~65Mb/s over 9.5km SMF links. Here we are seeking an DC to carry out PhD level research on improving PBCS CV-QKD, starting with the currently available CV-QKD transceiver prototype in our lab and reducing its excess noise by at least of factor of 3. The DC will investigate the link length limits and achievable SKRs with PCS CV-QKD initially focusing on improving experimental stability and block size.
  • Expected Results: 1) Reducing its excess noise by at least of factor of 3, 2) Improving the spectral efficiency of the current prototype, 3) Improving the system reach of the current prototype.
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at KEEQuant, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Status: Candidate found

Job Description (DC9) – KEEQuant

  • Project title: Photonic Integrated classical/quantum transceiver for classical quantum communications
  • Host institution: KEEQuant
  • PhD enrolment: Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Supervisors: I. Khan (KEEQuant), C.Okonkwo (Eindhoven University of Technology). Mentor: T. Buchner (EXATEL)
  • Research Objectives: Design, develop and characterise the opto-electronic and photonic subsystems of an integrated CV-QKD transceiver. DC9 will study the integrated transceivers suitability for enabling quantum/classical propagation applications, e.g., considering choice of wavelength, platform substrates (InP, Si, SiN), modulation format and Tx/Rx DSP. Simulations will be performed to narrow parameter spaces for subsequent design choices. The DC will be trained in the full chain of design, development, lab characterisation of photonic integrated circuits, enabled by multi-project wafer runs. The candidate will investigate the impact of the developed transceiver on the achievable secret key rate for quantum/classical propagation both in a lab as well as in a field-test environment.
  • Expected Results: 1) Perform simulation of CV-QKD module on engineering level, 2) Design of a CV-QKD transceiver module 3) Characterization and performance evaluation 4) Test in a fiber and free-space optical transmission scenario
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at Eindhoven University of Technology, Technical University of Denmark, University of L’Aquila
  • Status: Open until 22/03/2024
  • Link to vacancy: https://www.keequant.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/2024-01-18-QuNEST-Vacancy-KEEQuant.pdf

Job Description (DC10) – VPIphotonics

  • Project title: Modelling-based design of CV/DV-QKD systems in co-existence with classical optical transmission channels
  • Host institution: VPIphotonics
  • PhD enrolment: University of L’Aquila
  • Supervisors: Dr. I. Koltchanov (VPIphotonics), Prof. K. Banaszek (University of Warsaw). Mentor: Dr. A. Richter (VPIphotonics)
  • Research Objectives: Extend existing simulation framework and model library for system-level simulations of DV/CV-QKD scenarios by developing missing modelling functions and simulation concepts to support a wide range of QKD protocols. Investigate impact of component imperfections and noise sources on the performance of various QKD systems over fiber- or free-space based links. Study the implementation of DV/CV-QKD systems over infrastructure with co-existing classical channels.
  • Expected Results: 1) Extended simulation framework allowing the design and study of QKD systems on engineering level, 2) Novel concepts for realizing DV/CV-QKD systems over classical communication infrastructure
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at University of Warsaw, IDQuantique, ADVA Network Security, University of L’Aquila
  • Status: Candidate found

Job Description (DC11) – IDQuantique

  • Project title: Real-time reconfigurable QKD systems from seamless integration in a modern network architecture.
  • Host institution: IDQuantique
  • PhD enrolment: University of Geneva
  • Supervisors: G. Boso (IDQuantique); Co-Supervisor: R Thew (University of Geneva); Mentor: Thomas Bradley (Eindhoven University of Technology).
  • Research Objectives: DC11 will acquire the necessary knowledge of the current state-of-the-art in QKD systems and protocols both from an optical and a control plane point of view. Based on simulations and testbed operation of QKD transmission over a fiber based transmission channel, DC 11 will optimise the QKD network variations (e.g. excess loss, switching between fibers and TX/RX pairs and addition of co-propagating WDM system). The DC will re-design of the processing algorithms (e.g., error correction, sifting, privacy amplification) as applied to commercial QKD system to make them reconfigurable in real-time. Finally, the DC will work on a demonstrator at Eindhoven University of Technology and University of L’Aquila where a set of QKD systems can be reconfigured in real time via a network management system.
  • Expected Results: 1) Optimised parameters for a QKD system based on the transmission channel specifications, 2) New real-time configurable processing algorithms for QKD, 3) Reconfigurable QKD network demonstrator
  • Secondments: The doctoral candidate secondments periods are planned at EXATEL, VPIphotonics, University of Geneva
  • Status: Open
  • Link to vacancy: https://www.idquantique.com/careers/phd-real-time-reconfigurable-qkd-systems/ 

Job Requirements

We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • You are creative, ambitious, hard-working, and persistent.
  • You have an MSc degree in electrical engineering, applied physics, mathematics or any other relevant program.
  • You have theoretical and applied knowledge of Quantum communications or Photonics
  • You have hands-on experimental experience in Quantum communications or Optical Communications lab based setups
  • You have good communicative skills, and the attitude to collaborate successfully in the work of a research team.
  • You have a good command of the English language (Spoken and Written).

Conditions of employment

  • The successful candidates will receive a gross salary in accordance with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) regulations for Doctoral Candidate researchers. According to the MSCA regulation, if the recruited doctoral candidate has or acquires family obligations during the action duration, a family allowance will be added, in case of eligibility.
  • The period of employment is 36-48 months depending on the host institution. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and attractive participation in conferences.
  • The Doctoral Candidates are expected to travel to network partners under three secondments for a typical duration of 2-6 months. Additionally, the Doctoral Candidates are expected to participate in outreach activities including, but not limited to, YouTube videos, social media updates, participation in public events and campaigns, as well as dissemination to popular press.

Eligibility and mobility criteria (mandatory requirements EU rules)

  • The recruited researchers must be doctoral candidates, i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment.
  • The recruited researchers must be employed full-time, unless the granting authority has approved a part-time employment for personal or family reasons
  • The recruited researchers must be working exclusively for the project
  • Recruited researchers can be of any nationality and must comply with the following mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date – unless as part of a compulsory national service or a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention

Selection Process:

The selection process of invited candidates contains two phases:
In the first phase, a wide range of selection practices will be used (including expert assessment, face-to-face interviews, etc.) to evaluate the potential candidates. The selection committee for each doctoral candidate will be composed of three members: the main supervisor from the hosting institution, a QuNEST representative from another beneficiary and the future secondment manager of the doctoral candidate.
In the second phase, the selected candidate will be evaluated by QuNEST’s Recruitment, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee. The committee addresses gender balance and diversity issues within the entire Doctoral Network and needs to approve the selected candidate.
QuNEST deals with a recruitment process based on the European principles of openness, fairness and transparency that guarantee a selection of candidates in respect of merit and gender balance. All institutions have clear equal opportunities policies ensuring equal and fair recruitment and employment of men and women.
Please note that all submitted applications will be checked against the defined eligibility and mobility criteria. Applications that do not follow these criteria will not be considered.

For more information about the individual projects, deadline for application, starting date, how to apply, project duration and any informal enquiries, please have a look at the website of the host institutions.

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