PhD: Preparation of extremely thin nanolayers by atomic layer deposition (V34.3240)

PhD: Preparation of extremely thin nanolayers by atomic layer deposition

Faculteit Technische Natuurkunde


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, implantation 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.

Responsibilities and tasks: 

  • Coordinate and conduct experiments in the field of the proposed research and gain detailed understanding of the underlying mechanisms by employing theory and modelling.
  • Monthly reporting of progress to project partner.
  • Preparation scientific papers, conference communications and dissertation
  • Daily supervision of Bachelor and M.Sc. students


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.


We offer a challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious university through a fixed-term appointment for a period of 4 years. The research must be concluded with the attainment of a Ph.D. degree. As an employee of the university you will receive a competitive salary as well as excellent employment conditions. The salary starts at € 2222.-per month (gross) in the first year, increasing up to € 2840.- per month (gross) in the last year. Moreover, an 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year allowance is provided annually. Assistance for finding accommodation can be given. The university offers an attractive package of fringe benefits such as excellent technical infrastructure, child care, savings schemes, and excellent sports facilities.

TU/e also offers you the opportunity for personal development by developing your social and communication skills. We do this by offering every PhD student a series of courses in the PROOF program as an excellent addition to your scientific education.

Informatie en sollicitatie

Information on the project may be obtained from prof. W.M.M. Kessels (
More information on employment conditions can be found here: 

If you are interested in this position, please send in your application by using the 'Apply now'-button at the top of this page.
Applications should include:

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • A detailed CV
  • Scans of certificates and official grade forms related to your BSc and MSc degree.
  • Names and contact information of two or more references

Screening of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled.

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