Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a vapor phase deposition technique that has gained a tremendous amount of attention in the recent years. The reason is that it allows for the deposition of ultrathin films of high quality with a very accurate control of the thickness. Moreover, the method is unique in its ability to cover demanding surface topologies (e.g., substrates with deep trenches) with very conformal films having the same thickness everywhere. The method has therefore become a real enabling technology in the semiconductor industry but applications in other fields of technology are also rapidly expanding.
Due to the very demanding requirements of future technology nodes (5 nm node and beyond), the semiconductor industry is currently pushing the thin films and the ALD method to prepare them even more to its extreme: there is a need to prepare nanolayers that are extremely thin (about 1-2 nm in thickness) while maintaining good film properties.
The Plasma & Materials Processing group at the Department of Applied Physics of the TU/e is embarking on this challenge together with its partner ASM International. ASM International (headquartered in the Netherlands but with locations worldwide) is a company that designs, manufactures and markets equipment and materials used to fabricate semiconductor devices. They are a market leader in ALD equipment.
Project & Job description
The PhD student will investigate the preparation of extremely thin films of high quality by ALD. Although the intention is to design such ALD processes and characterize the film properties for a selection of materials, the emphasis of the research will lie on in-depth studies of the underlying mechanisms such that a better understanding will be obtained that can be employed generically. The latter will therefore also be the main topic of the dissertation resulting from this project.
Special focus will be given to the use of plasma-based techniques and the starting point will therefore be plasma-enhanced ALD processes. The candidate is expected to become skilled in the science and technology of plasma processing as well as in surface science and advanced aspects related to thin film growth. The development, implementation and use of advanced in situ metrology tools to investigate and monitor film growth will also be an important element of the research.
The work will be performed in the group Plasma & Materials Processing at the Department of Applied Physics at the TU/e. The PMP group focuses on the advancement of the science and technology of plasma and materials processing, a research area which is in essence multidisciplinary and encompasses the research fields of plasma physics, surface science, and materials science. A main scientific objective of the group is to obtain “atomic” level understanding of ultrathin film growth by atomic layer deposition. The group is well-equipped in terms of ALD reactors (including several tools in an 800 m2, state-of-the-art clean room), in situ metrology tools, and material analyses techniques.
For the PhD position, we seek a highly talented, enthusiastic, and exceptionally motivated candidate with MSc degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or similar. He/she must have a strong background in physics and have an affinity with semiconductor technology. Experience in the areas of surface science and thin film growth would be an asset. Good communication skills in English (both written and spoken) are required.
Responsibilities and tasks:
All PhD studentships in Applied Physics include a limited contribution to educational tasks of the department, equivalent to around 5% of the contract time. Please note that for candidates with specific interest in teaching and education there are options for a 5-year PhD studentship with a total equivalent of around 25% educational tasks. Please express your interest to the vacancy holder/supervisor in charge.
Information on the project may be obtained from dr. A.J.M. Mackus (a.j.m.mackus[at]tue.nl) or prof.dr. W.M.M. Kessels [w.m.m.kessels[at]tue.nl). If you are interested in this position, please send in your application by using the 'Apply for this job'-button on this page.
Applications should include:
Screening of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled.