Junior Research Fellow – Development of diamond photonics platforms for neuronal research (Ref.11.20.56)

Research Fellow Braga, Portugal



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Junior Research Fellow – Development of diamond photonics platforms for neuronal research (Ref.11.20.56)



Employer: International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL)

Location: Braga, Portugal

Number of Vacancies: 1

Group/Unit: Ultrafast Bio- and Nanophotonics

Required Education: Master Degree (MSc)

Employment Type: Full time

Contract Duration: 36 months

Open Date for Applications: November 18th, 2021

Closing Date for Applications: December 10th, 2021, 23h00m (Lisbon Time)


Organisation Description

The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory – INL (http://www.inl.int), is the first and only International Intergovernmental Organisation in the world entirely focused on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

It was founded under an international legal framework to perform interdisciplinary research, deploy and communicate nanotechnology for the benefit of society. INL aims to be a recognised leading global nanotechnology innovation hub.


Project Specifications: The project is financed by La Caixa and FCT, under the programme INICIATIVA IBÉRICA DE INVESTIGAÇÃO E INOVAÇÃO BIOMÉDICA – I4B FCT

Name of the project: Diamond photonics platforms for synaptic connectivity assessment in healthy and Parkinson disease neuronal models (Diamond4Brain)

Reference number: 2000206



The Diamond4Brain project for the first time shall combine the advances in quantum metrology approaches with the state-of-the-art 2D neuronal signalling research and innovative 3D Parkinson's Disease model developments, which harbour the potential as early diagnostic tools or testbeds for personalised medicines.

A highly promising quantum metrology technique is based on the fluorescence emission of Nitrogen Vacancy (NV) centers in diamonds, which can be used to assess various physical parameters such as temperature and magnetic field in their nanoscale surroundings.

This project aims at developing diamond photonics sensing platforms delivering the quantum sensing units, the NV centers, in close nanoscale proximity to the biological signalling units, the axons of neuronal cells, to obtain a quantum photonic read-out of the neuronal activity and connectivity in 2D and 3D cellular neuronal networks. The capabilities of the novel Diamond4Brain sensing platforms to be developed at INL to pick up the Action Potentials from stimulated neuronal cells, shall be benchmarked by comparison with current state-of-the-art genetically encoded voltage protein Ca+ fluorescence contrast microscopy and micro-electrode array technology at partner institutes ICVS and U Aveiro.



Scientific Area: Experimental Nanophotonics, Quantum Photonics


Job Role & Key Responsibilities

The successful candidate will work on the development of diamond platforms for an optically detected magnetic resonance (ODMR) and their applications in the area of neurosciences and neuro-degenerative disease research. She/he will be assigned the following working plan:


  • Study of the biocompatibility of neuronal cells on top of diamond surfaces and 3D structured surfaces
  • Fabrication of ODMR resonators based on patterned gold structures on top of glass
  • Application of the ODMR experiments to neuronal cell samples provided by collaborators and exposed to diamond platforms
  • Data analysis for the extraction of temperature or magnetic field data from ODMR traces
  • Comparison of sensitivity using genetically encoded voltage protein Ca+ fluorescence contrast microscopy(as measured in a visiting research stay at U Aveiro)
  • Further optimization of ODMR protocols involving some
  • Reporting: Participation in group seminars, conferences (posters/talks), and writing scientific reports suited for publication



Supervision: The work plan will be developed at the INL under the scientific guidance of Dr. Jana Berit Nieder. The successful candidate will be integrated in the Ultrafast Bio- and Nanophotonics Group and will be encouraged to enrol in a PhD program as important technologic and scientific milestones will be reached that meet the typical academic requirements expected from PhD candidates.


Job Requirements

Candidates should meet the following requirements:



  • Master degree in in the field of Physics, Biophysics, Material Science, Optics, Photonics, Optical Engineering, Bioengineering or related.


Experience and Technical Skills

  • Expertise/scientific knowledge in Quantum Theory, Atoms & Molecules, Spectroscopy will be an advantage;
  • Device Control and data analysis Programming (Python, Matlab or similar) will be an advantage;
  • Bioimaging and literature survey will be an advantaged.


Applications that do not meet these conditions will not be considered.



 Personal Skills

  • Strong motivation to work both independently and as part of a team in an interdisciplinary environment, with the ability to pay close attention to detail and to meet deadlines;
  • Team work spirit;
  • Good communication skills;
  • “Hands-on” approach together with a high commitment in respecting working deadlines;
  • Highly organised and dynamic.



Excellent communication skills in English are required since it’s the working language of INL.


          Duration of the contract

The total duration of the employment contract shall be 36 months and may be renewed based on the performance of the individual and the duration of the project. The expected starting date is January/February 2021.


What we offer

  • Work Accidents insurance costs to be paid by INL, to provide coverage for work accidents and invalidity benefits;
  • Health insurance with excellent coverage;
  • Tax Benefits;
  • A family allowance for staff members that are married or that are living under the status of “common-law couple” and/or have any dependent child;
  • A child allowance for each dependent child;
  • Free Nursery Service at INL campus (subject to availability);
  • Support for Education fees of dependent children;
  • Depending on the place of residence, INL covers 100% of travel expenses for all family members;
  • 30 days of annual leave;
  • Diplomatic status.



How to Apply

The application is made online through our e-recruiting platform. Please click on the “Apply button.

For the application to be valid it must be made in English and the candidate must complete all required sections of the online application form, as well as submit all required documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


          Supporting Documents

Please enclose the following supporting documents in pdf format:

(a)  Cover letter in English;

(b)  Curriculum Vitae in English;

(c)   Academic certificates.


The documents must be submitted in the “additional files” section using the “add portfolio” icon that appears in the application form.


Additional Information


Employment Agreement

If your application is successful and you accept our offer of employment, you will receive the employment agreement and all other relevant documents. If you are relocating, you will be given assistance by the HR Office.


If Your Application is Not Successful

We highly value your interest in becoming part of the INL experience and it is important for us to maintain good communications with all candidates. No matter the outcome of your application, we will always provide you with feedback.


Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Principle

INL promotes a non-discrimination and equal access policy, wherefore no candidate can be privileged, benefited, impaired or deprived of any rights whatsoever, or be exempt of and duties based on any possible discriminatory issues.


Enquiries should be made to: hr.services@inl.int.

The advertisement deadline may be extended at any time without previous notice in order to improve the suitability and effectiveness of the recruitment process.