PhD position “In-situ TEM observation of plasma-material interaction”

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 30 Apr 2023

PhD position “In-situ TEM observation of plasma-material interaction”
PhD position “In-situ TEM observation of plasma-material interaction”
Published Deadline Location
yesterday 30 Apr Enschede

Job description
We are looking for a motivated and skilled PhD candidate who is willing to take the challenge to develop methods for studying plasma-surface interaction on nanometre-thin films using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Understanding plasma-surface interaction is of utmost importance to develop thin films that resist exposure to reactive ions and radicals, thereby enabling application in future lithography technology. Our aim is to obtain scientific understanding how material properties and atomic-scale structure influence stability of thin films in reactive environments. You will develop and apply methods to perform TEM imaging while exposing samples to reactive conditions, thereby offering for the first time direct imaging of reaction and diffusion processes on these thin films while exposed to plasma.
Your project will be part of a research project on the physics of thin films for extreme UV applications, currently running in the XUV Optics Group at Twente ( We develop forefront fundamental research, relevant to high tech applications, in collaboration with our industrial partners (ASML, Zeiss, Malvern Panalytical and VDL). The research will take place in a state-of-the-art thin film laboratory within the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Twente, which will allow you ample opportunities to collaborate and interact with various academic and industrial partners.
Your goal is to apply and develop methods for in-situ and operando TEM imaging of thin films exposed to reactive environments. This includes:
  • Studying physical and chemical processes in thin film samples exposed to reactive conditions (radical and/or ion exposure) in Environmental TEM set-ups at academic partners (Paris (F) - Ecole Polytechnique) , as well as reference experiments at our in-house TEM facilities.
  • Development of TEM inserts that will allow in-situ imaging under reactive conditions at our in-house TEM facilities.
  • Use the physics insight obtained from the newly developed imaging capabilities to understand how the resistance of thin films against plasma exposure is related to material combinations and atomic structure of the film.

  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • Enschede View on Google Maps

University of Twente (UT)

  • You have a M.Sc. degree (or equivalent) in physics, physical chemistry, nanotechnology or another relevant field, or you expect to obtain this degree by the Summer of 2023. Especially candidates in the final stage of their M.Sc. studies are encouraged to apply.
  • You have affinity with thin film deposition, physics and chemistry of solid surfaces and/or surface analysis. Alternatively, you have experience with SEM/TEM imaging, or the development of (MEMS) in-situ or operando devices or micro-plasma or radical sources.
  • You are an excellent team player in an enthusiastic group of scientists and engineers working on a common theme.
  • You are creative, like to push boundaries, and are highly motivated to address a major science challenge in collaboration with our industry partners.
  • You are fluent in English and able to collaborate intensively with industrial and academic parties in regular meetings and work visits.

Conditions of employment
  • You will be appointed on a fulltime position for 4 years. The position is available immediately.
  • The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in a stimulating scientific environment.
  • The PhD salary is € 2.541 in the first year, increasing to € 3.247 in the fourth year.
  • The offer further involves a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%, a solid pension scheme.
  • The number of holiday hours for full-time employment is 232 hours per calendar year.
  • A personal development program within the Twente Graduate School.

The University of Twente stands for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands. We have a strong focus on personal development and give scope for carrying out pioneering research. The Faculty of Science & Technology works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.
The XUV Optics group is embedded in the MESA+ Institute (, which is one of the largest nanotechnology research institutes in the world, delivering competitive and successful high-quality research. The institute employs 500 people of which 275 are PhD's or PostDocs. With its unique NanoLab facilities the institute holds 1250 m2 of cleanroom space and state-of-the-art research equipment.
The University of Twente is an equal opportunity employer which values diversity. We do not discriminate on race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.
Additional information
Your reaction should include:
  • an application/motivation letter, emphasizing your specific interest and motivation for this particular project,
  • a detailed CV, containing your publications list (if applicable), contact details of referees and an academic transcript of B.Sc. and M.Sc. education.
An interview and a scientific presentation will be part of the selection procedure.
For detailed information, you can contact Dr. ir. Marko Sturm (, +31 53 489 1185.
Please apply via the "Apply Now" button below.
High Tech and Human Touch

Join the university of technology that puts people first. Create new possibilities for yourself, your colleagues and society as a whole. Using modern technology and science to drive innovation, change and progress. That’s what it means to work at the University of Twente.

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