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University of Twente PHD Fellowship – Physiscs and Chemistry of Ultrathin Membranes for the Extreme UV 2017, Netherlands

Publish Date: Feb 16, 2017


Ultrathin films of nanoscale thickness find a major application in the Extreme Ultraviolet wavelength range. If composed of periodically stacked bi-layer films, so-called Bragg mirrors, these films can reflect EUV light very effectively. The fabrication of such multilayer mirrors requires a high degree of control of the different fundamental physics processes that play a role in the mirrors. These EUV mirrors are now utilized in photolithographic equipment for the fabrication of future generations of integrated circuits. At the basis of this success was forefront research by the XUV Optics research group at MESA+.

The group now extends its research field from reflective optics to transmissive optics, i.e. highly EUV-transparent membranes. Given the high degree of absorption of most materials in this wavelength range, the challenges are tremendous: the thickness of the membranes should be in the range of a few tens of nanometers, while most applications require sizes of up to several tens of square centimeters. These large membranes should be one thousand times thinner than the clingfilm used to wrap sandwiches, yet be at least ten times stronger.

The basic physics of such membranes contains fascinating processes, including challenging clean room fabrication technologies. They include physical, chemical, as well as photo-chemical reactions in the films and at their interfaces and surfaces. The experimental approach of the current PhD job will be to isolate the individual processes and to understand and control them at the atomic and molecular level, especially oxygen involving surface reactions and oxygen diffusion through top layers of the membranes. The insight should lead to control of the processes, resulting in synthesis of stable membranes using novel technology. The scientific programme includes world-leading research activities in nanoscale fabrication and cleanroom technology, surface and thin film analysis with single atom layer sensitivity, atomic-scale layer engineering and layer growth facilities, and a range of numerical tools. The research will take place in specialized clean room and thin film laboratories and is done in close collaboration with industrial and academic parties, including ASML.


We are looking for a skilled experimentalist with a Master degree in physics, materials science, physical chemistry or engineering. Basic knowledge of surface science and/or experience with deposition and clean room techniques is desirable. Our favoured candidate is creative and likes to push boundaries. We expect the candidate to have excellent command of the English language as well as professional communication and presentation skills.


The University of Twente offers a stimulating work environment in an area of applied, forefront research. When fulfilling a PhD position at the UT, you will get the status of junior scientist. You will have an employment contract for the duration of 4 years with UT employee benefits. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2191,- in the first year and increases to € 2801,- in the fourth year of your employment. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, an 8% holiday allowance, an 8.3% end of year bonus. A high-quality training programme is part of the contract. The research should result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period. The position is available immediately.

For further information you can contact Prof. Fred Bijkerk at, +31 53 4894364.


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+ and MIRA. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.

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