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PhD position on Defect Driven Local Charging

PhD position on Defect Driven Local Charging

Irène Curie Fellowship
Applied Physics and Science Education


We are looking for a PhD candidate with an experimental physics background to work on defect driven local charging in in the PI-group Extreme non-equilibrium plasmas of Sander Nijdam. This group is part of the group Elementary Processes in Gas Discharges at the Applied Physics and Science Education Department of Eindhoven University of Technology. This project will be in cooperation with ASML Lithography and MI-Partners.


To meet the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), future ASML machines require improved performance in terms of overlay, focus and throughput. Currently defectivity (particles) in the vacuum clamping gap needed for electrostatic clamping of wafers and/or reticles affects the overlay performance and the effect is expected to further deteriorate performance when moving to increased throughput.

To further minimize overlay impact and secure a technology roadmap it is needed to understand, control and optimize how particles behave in the clamping gap. This can be done for example by immobilizing the particles and/or minimizing their trapping and emission of charge or maybe even to actively remove them, e.g. by an electrostatic pickup means, after their location has been identified from scanner and/or metrology data.

Project goal

The ultimate goal is to (i) fully understand the behavior of realistic (size & shape) conducting and dielectric particles in typical clamping gaps under relevant conditions, (ii) optimize the geometry and (both) surfaces to minimize the impact of particles on the performance, (iii) improve understanding and improve the performance of today’s particle removal methods and (iv) propose, specify and develop an in-situ tool to remove such particles.

The specific goal for the PhD in this project is

(a) study the behavior of particles in a gap using first principles, numerical models and experimental verification. This includes effects like field emission, secondary emission, polarization, micro-discharges, electron induced outgassing and charge (de)trapping on dielectric materials.

(b) Specify, develop, fabricate and test improved configurations, incl. surfaces, possible treatments and cleaning methods to optimize the behavior of particles in a gap with a high electric field.


Beyond collaboration with your project partners at TU/e, ASML and MI-Partners, you will interact with the international network of applied plasma and high voltage technology through schools and conferences.


The successful candidate has a Master degree and an excellent academic record in physics and or a closely related field. He/she must have a strong attitude towards experimental physics with a focus on plasma physics and/or high voltage technology. Affinity with numerical modelling (besides experimental skills) is seen as a pre.


A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale 27 (min. €2,541 max. €3,247).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Informatie en sollicitatie

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact the hiring manager dr. S. Nijdam, S.Nijdam[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact Sam van Kampen MSc., HR Advisor, s.q.v.kampen[at]

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


We invite you to submit a complete application. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • If available, your bachelor or master thesis.
  • A list of courses and grades during relevant studies, including GPA in its local scale.
  • Name and contact details (email and phone) of at least one scientist able and willing to provide references.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.