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PhD in Advanced digital control of ultra-high frequency power converters

PhD in Advanced digital control of ultra-high frequency power converters

Department of Electrical Engineering
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Job description

This project focuses on the design and implementation of advanced digital controllers for high precision power converters with ultra-high effective switching frequency. This involves research in nonlinear (switched and multi-rate) control structures, stabilizing, predictive and self-learning control theory, and real-time controller implementation. Validation has to be carried out using a prototype that is targeting a semiconductor lithography application. The research is part of the IT2 European project (IC Technology for the 2nm node) and it will be conducted within the Control Systems (CS) group of the Department of Electrical Engineering, TU/e, in close cooperation with the Electromechanics and Power Electronics (EPE) group, ASML and Prodrive.

To enable 2nm node technology and 200 wafer per hours productivity for preserving the leading role of EU in Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturing, a new generation of ultra-high precision power amplifiers is needed to enable precise positioning of the wafer stage with sub-nanometer accuracy. The positioning accuracy depends, among others, on the bandwidth and current ripple of the power amplifier, which can be optimized by integrating more advanced amplifier hardware and digital control.

The objective of this PhD research is to exploit advanced control techniques (switching control, multi-rate control, self-learning control, nonlinear observers) and customized real-time implementation to significantly improve performance of ultra-high frequency power converters utilized in high-precision lithography machines. The research also involves laboratory work in terms of implementation and experimental verification of the research results on a prototype stage developed at TU/e in collaboration with industrial partners. The research output ultimately serves as a basis for future advancements in control of power converters and semiconductor technology.

Main research directions

  • Modeling of switched-mode power converters: development of high-fidelity PLECS Simulink models for validation and switched/averaged models for digital controller/observer design.
  • Advanced digital control methods: digital controllers for ultra-high frequency power converters must be simple enough to run in real-time. Nonlinear controllers with a simple structure based on switching among multiple basic controllers and multi-rate control structures will be researched. Techniques from stabilizing, predictive and self-learning control theory will be explored.
  • Controller implementation on dedicated circuits: systematic methods for real-time implementation of nonlinear digital controllers and observers will be researched.

Control Systems group
The CS group research activities span all facets of systems and control theory, such as linear, nonlinear and hybrid systems theory, model predictive control, distributed control, machine learning for control, modeling and identification, formal methods in control. The CS group has a strong interconnection with industry via national and European funded projects in a variety of application areas like high-precision mechatronics, power electronics, and sustainable energy (mobility, transport, smart grids). CS owns an Autonomous Motion laboratory and hosts several high-tech setups. The PhD student will join the group and interact with the other members of the CS group (around 40 researchers), where he/she will participate in a mix of academic and industrial research activities. Research within the CS Group is characterized by personal supervision. The PhD student will have access to the advanced courses offered by the Dutch Institute for Systems and Control and will attend the yearly Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control.

Job requirements

For the PhD position in this project, a candidate with a MSc degree in Systems and Control, Electrical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering will be selected and hired as a doctoral student in the Control Systems Group for a 4-year period. The candidate should have the following competences:

  • You are a talented and enthusiastic young researcher.
  • Strong academic background in systems and control.
  • Affinity and/or interest in power electronics; practical experience with power electronics would be welcome.
  • Good programming skills in Matlab and well-versed in Simulink; experience with PLECS would be welcome.
  • A team-player with excellent communication and cooperation skills in a multi-partner and multi-disciplinary project environment.
  • You are creative and ambitious, hard-working and persistent.
  • Ability to independently organize your work.
  • Good scientific writing skills.
  • Strong command of the English language (knowledge of Dutch is not required).

Conditions of employment

  • Challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious university and a stimulating internationally renowned research environment.
  • Full-time temporary appointment for 4 years.
  • Gross salary between € 2.325,00 and € 2.972,00.
  • An extensive package of fringe benefits (e.g. excellent technical infrastructure, the possibility of childcare and excellent sports facilities).

Information and application

For more information about the project, please contact dr. Mircea Lazar (m.lazar[a]

More information on employment conditions can be found here:

If interested, please use the ‘apply now’-button at the top of this page. You should upload the following:

  • a brief cover letter motivating your interest and suitability for the position;
  • a detailed curriculum vitae including research experience and any previous publications;
  • transcripts of academic records indicating courses taken (including grades);
  • half-page summary of your MSc thesis;
  • contact details of two relevant references (email, phone number).

Please note that you can upload 1 document of 10 MB. So if you have more than 1 document you will have to combine them.  Screening of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled.

Applications by e-mail are not accepted!