PhD-student: Surface and materials science of thin films for EUV lithography

Date posted March 4, 2019
Type PhD positions

Thin films play a crucial role in nanolithography technology, since they are the basic elements of multilayer reflector components, protective coatings, and envisaged ultrathin free-standing membranes protecting highly sensitive nanostructures, such as lithography masks.
In this PhD project, you will explore the physical and chemical properties of thin films for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) nanolithography applications, bridging between the study of application-oriented surface properties of state-of-the-art coatings and fundamental scientific interest in the growth and interaction processes at thin-film surfaces. Using experimental surface science techniques you will investigate thin-film properties, ranging from structural variations for different growth methods to their surface chemistry, including interactions with relevant gas molecules, catalytic activity, and stability. The variations in structure and composition of the thin films will be achieved by exploring different growth parameters and methods, ranging from sputter deposition and electron-beam evaporation to the versatile technique of pulsed laser deposition, providing access to a wide range of stoichiometry and growth kinetics. You will have access to the group’s near-ambient pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (NAP-XPS) setup as well as state-of-the-art scanning probe and electron microscopy facilities and diffraction equipment at the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL), AMOLF, and the University of Amsterdam.
Within the collaborative and interdisciplinary environment of ARCNL, you will develop expertise in photoelectron spectroscopy and thin-film growth and become familiar with a wide variety of surface analysis techniques, such as scanning probe microscopy, electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction.

About the group

The Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) focuses on the fundamental physics and chemistry involved in current and future key technologies in nanolithography, primarily for the semiconductor industry. ARCNL is a public-private partnership between the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Science Park Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The group for Materials and Surface Science for EUV Lithography investigates the elementary physical and chemical processes occurring at surfaces and interfaces relevant to EUV nanolithography and explores new materials and structures promising improved performance. Its core technique, in-situ photoelectron spectroscopy, provides insights into the evolution of surfaces in reactive atmospheres and during irradiation with EUV light, for example the formation of surface phases, dewetting, precipitation, or intermixing at interfaces. Identifying the mechanistic details of surface processes in realistic atmospheres not only enhances the fundamental understanding of surfaces in EUV lithography and their degradation, but also provides a guideline for the development of future stable high-performance materials.


You have an MSc in physics, (physical) chemistry, or materials science. Experience with spectroscopy techniques, ultra-high vacuum equipment, or solid-state and surface physics is advantageous but not a prerequisite. Good verbal and written communication skills (in English) are required.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of four years. After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA).

Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students. ARCNL assists any new foreign PhD-student with visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

dr. Roland Bliem
Group leader Materials and Surface Science for EUV Lithography
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

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