Postdoctoral Researcher in Atom Probe Tomography

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 20 Jun 2020

The performance, function and reliability of a semiconductor device is uniquely defined by its atomic structure. The quest to unravel this 3-dimensional atomic arrangement, including the atoms’ identity, has recently excelled the use of atom probe microscopy (APT) in semiconductor labs. Unfortunately, our speed of learning in view of the underlying physical principles and artefacts in APT lacks behind its widespread application to increasingly complex device structures. The heterogeneity of these systems can trigger numerous (atomistic) processes before and during field evaporation, in the flight sequence as well as during detection of the ions, which are little understood and even less controlled. This reflects in compositional and spatial inaccuracies (resulting in imaging artefacts) in APT data, which are unacceptably high (or even unknown). Considering that a single device of future technology nodes contains as little as 2500 dopant atoms confined into less than 15 nm, the spatial resolution and quantification accuracy needs to be improved drastically. It goes without saying that a fundamental understanding of the aforementioned processes will be a stepping-stone for this.

Your research shall shed more light onto those artefacts in general, with focus on imaging artefacts and spatial inaccuracies originating from atomistic processes on the tip surface (atom migration, retention, clustering, etc.) and those linked to the nanoscopic tip shape itself. Eventually, your knowledge obtained might be fed into novel data reconstruction algorithms to exploit ways to rectify these artefacts. To arrive at this:

  • You will unravel atomistic processes on the tip surface (and beyond), their root-causes, physical driving forces and impact on the reconstructed APT data. 
  • You will have vast access to a LEAP 5000XR and a LAWATAP with multiple laser wavelengths and FIM.
  • You will have access to complementary analysis techniques applicable to atom probe specimens such as (S)TEM (tomography) and the innovative scanning probe metrology concept developed at imec.
  • You will independently prepare atom probe specimens, perform atom probe and/or field ion microscopy and use/develop advanced data analysis routines.
  • You will have access to very advanced semiconductor devices and novel materials enabling to explore and demonstrate your progress on state-of-the-art material systems.
  • Your research work might involve theoretical studies using relevant frameworks such as field evaporation simulations, atomistic and nanoscopic simulation, etc. in strive for a high-level understanding. 
  • You will report on your research activity and publish your research results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely fashion.
  • You will share your knowledge with colleagues and provide scientific guidance to PhD/Master students. 
  • You will be integrated in a young and motivated team of researchers and PhD students active in the field, exploring tip shape analysis (using patented SPM technology), novel reconstruction algorithms, data inaccuracies (multi hit analysis, biased composition, ...).
  • You will be working in close contact to other teams (TEM, SPM, ...) in the materials and component analysis group (MCA) at imec. 
  • You are exposed to the international partners of imec, representing all major semiconductor companies. 

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