Internship Opportunities: Optics

Job Type:Full Time

Microsoft Research is offering the unique opportunity to work in Cambridge for a 12-week (or longer) internship in cutting-edge optical technologies that will underpin the next generation of cloud infrastructure and head-mounted display technology. In the field of cloud infrastructure, we are engaged in a series of pioneering research projects covering compute, storage and networking. To address the challenges in these areas, we adopt a holistic approach by working in multidisciplinary teams that perform research that spans optics, system design, software, and hardware.

In the optical storage field, we are aiming to revolutionise how data is stored in the cloud. Project Silica leverages recent discoveries in laser technology to store data in quartz glass. Polarised femtosecond lasers are used to write data into glass and optical polarisation microscopes are used for readout.

In the optical networking field, we aim to develop disruptive optical technologies for the next generation cloud infrastructure. For example, project Sirius is targeted at asking whether ultra-fast optical switching within the datacentre can enable the continuation of Moore’s law. Project Iris is looking at the space of wide area networks and investigates novel scalable architectures and optical elements for inter-datacentre connectivity.

In the field of displays we are looking at ambitious and sensible ways to solve the critical issues of today’s head-mounted display technology. We are looking at a range of technologies, including static and dynamic holography, computational optics, free form optics and new image projector devices. The project involves solving a variety of practical and theoretical challenges and involves both hands-on darkroom experimentation and simulation work.

When you submit your application please consider which field would interest you most and where your skills would be most applicable.


  • Build simulations, optical systems or carry out optical experiments
  • Work collaboratively within an interdisciplinary project team


These skills would be useful for all projects

  • Currently pursuing a PhD in optical communications, electrical engineering, computer science, physics or closely related field
  • Highly motivated attitude and passion to work in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Fluency in English (verbal and written)
  • Software skills (Matlab, Python, C/C++)
  • Digital signal processing

The following skills would be applicable to particular projects:

  • Hands-on experience of femtosecond laser material processing
  • Experience with optical design and simulation software, e.g. Zemax
  • Practical experience and theoretical understanding of optical imaging technologies, especially microscopy and Fourier optics
  • Experience/knowledge of photonic integrated circuits.
  • Experience/knowledge of optical communication systems and networks.
  • Practical experience in implementation of free-space and fibre-based optical systems

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances.

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.