Postdoc: Theory of the atomic origins of EUV light (project MOORELIGHT)

Date posted November 22, 2023
Type Postdoc positions

This theory-oriented postdoctoral position lies at the interface between fundamental physics and industrial application. It is part of a fully funded Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council titled “Next-Generation Light Source: Driving plasmas to power tomorrow’s nanolithography (MOORELIGHT)”.

Advanced semiconductor devices are produced using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light at just 13.5nm wavelength. The recent revolutionary introduction of EUV lithography (EUVL) was the culmination of several decades of collaborative work between industry and science – a Project Apollo of the digital age. EUVL is powered by light that is produced in the interaction of high-energy CO2-gas laser pulses with molten tin microdroplets. The use of such lasers leads to low overall efficiency in converting electrical power to useful EUV light. Replacing gas lasers with much more efficient solid-state lasers may significantly improve efficiency, as well as output power. It is currently however unclear what laser wavelength, and what plasma ‘recipe’ should be used. This is because we lack understanding of the underlying complex physics. The goal of project MOORELIGHT is to deliver the missing insight – here by contributing to the theoretical understanding of the atomic physics of EUV-emitting ions.

Project goal
Understanding at the atomic level of the EUV generating processes is of key importance to be able to successfully develop the next generation of plasma light sources. Recently, our group discovered that EUV light must originate from transitions between complex multiply excited electronic states, and not from the singly excited states decaying to the ground state as was the standing paradigm. We now face the enormous challenge of understanding and predicting the position of such complex transitions to the accuracy level required for spectroscopic investigations. Currently, nobody truly knows where the EUV light stems from.

You will join a team of several PhD students and postdocs and have as an objective to use existing atomic physics codes to enable pinpointing the atomic origins of EUV light and uncovering the true impact of the complex electronic structure of tin on the EUV light emission in industrial nanolithography.

What does ARCNL offer you?

  • Collaboration with the in-house theory group and with external, international atomic physics experts (with international travel opportunities).
  • Cooperation within a large team of PhD students and postdoc and with a large industrial partner.
  • The opportunity to find the true origins of EUV light!

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 Dutch Research Council (NWO), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the VU University Amsterdam (VU), and associate partner the University of Groningen (RuG), and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Amsterdam Science Park, The Netherlands, and has a size of approximately 100 scientists and support staff. See also 

The research activities of the EUV Plasma Processes group aim at the atomic- and molecular-level understanding of the fundamental dynamics in the operation of contemporary and future plasma-based sources of extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) light for nanolithography. The Plasma Theory and Modeling group research the physics of laser-driven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light source plasmas using a blend of analytical modeling and numerical simulations.


You have a PhD in atomic or molecular physics with experience in state-of-the-art structure codes. Programming skills (Python) are welcomed. Good verbal and written communication skills (in English) are required.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hrs / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of 3 years, with a salary in scale 10 (CAO-OI) and a range of employment benefits. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. ARCNL assists any new foreign researchers with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Dr. Oscar Versolato/Dr. John Sheil
Group leader EUV Plasma Processes/Plasma Theory and Modeling
Phone: +31 (0)20-851 7100

Please send your:
– Resume
– Motivation letter on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).

Online screening may be part of the selection.

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please annex your:
–  Resume;
–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).
It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. This means that we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

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