PhD student in axion electrodynamics

Dark matter problem is one of the fundamental unresolved mysteries in modern physics. A promising dark matter candidate is provided by axions which are hypothetical particles extremely weakly interacting with the ordinary matter and able to convert to the pair of photons in the external magnetic field.

While the search for cosmic axions is pursued by a number of groups all over the world and the outcome of this research is not known a priori, there exist condensed matter systems described by the equations of axion electrodynamics. Hence, their collective excitations are emergent axions. Such structures can be realized either by breaking the time-reversal symmetry (e.g. Tellegen media) or keeping such symmetry intact. In the latter case, non-reciprocal magneto-electric coupling of the structure is quantized and the material is called axion topological insulator.

Overview of the results of our group on topological photonics.


Recently, axion topological insulators were realized in condensed matter physics. However, the implementation of such structures and their experimental investigation are not straightforward. Therefore, realization of axion topological insulators on photonic platform is especially promising. This is exactly the topic of this PhD project. Note that the outlined research agenda has been supported by Priority-2030 strategic development program as one of the most promising in ITMO University.

In this project, we will collaborate with Nobel Prize winner Prof. Frank Wilczek and publish the obtained results in the most prestigious international journals which enter top-1%: Nature, Science, Nature Photonics, Nature Physics и Nature Communications.

(а) Фотонная реализация слабого 3D фотонного топологического изолятора. Не является аксионным изолятором. (b) Схематическая картина аксионного топологического изолятора в физике твердого тела. В фотонике подобные структуры в настоящий момент не реализованы

(а) Photonic realization of weak 3D photonic topological insulator. This is not axion topological insulator.
(b) A schematic of axion topological insulator in condensed matter physics. Such structures are not realized in photonics so far.


  • Previous research experience in the related area of Physics: photonics, condensed matter physics or theoretical physics.
  • At least one publication in a peer-reviewed international journal (not conference proceedings).
  • Good level of English (Upper Intermediate B2 or higher).
  • Prior experience with such software packages as: Mathematica /Matlab/Python and Latex.
  • Solid background in classical electrodynamics and quantum mechanics.

Will be an advantage: 

  • Good presentation skills.
  • Prior experience with such software packages as CST Microwave Studio or Comsol Multiphysics.
  • Strong background in quantum optics and quantum field theory.


  • world-class level of research evidenced by our publications in such journals as Nature Photonics, Nature Communications, Laser & Photonics Reviews, Advanced Materials and others;
  • young and professional team at the Department, friendly atmosphere;
  • established collaboration with the leading researchers all over the world: USA, Europe, Asia and Australia as well as industrial partners;
  • internships in the leading groups all over the world.
  • possibility of business trips to the conferences or to the collaborators starting from the first year of PhD;
  • the possibility to increase salary during PhD studies by receiving the grants aimed at PhD students. PhD students actively working in our Department have typically very high success rate.
  • corporate teambuilding events: volleyball, table tennis as well as New Year Party and other.
  • work in the historical center of Saint Petersburg

Start date: September, 1, 2022

Depending on the results of the interview.

Lomonosova st., 9, Saint Petersburg, Russia