nanoJOBS – Careers in Nanotechnology

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Postdoctoral Researcher Hard Energy X-ray Photoemission for Advanced Characterization of Semiconductors
Employer: imec
Location: Leuven, Belgium
Employment Start Date: As soon as possible

Organization Description:


Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.


As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together 4,000 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer. To strengthen this position as a leading player in our field, we are looking for those passionate talents that make the difference!


Job Description:

What you will do

Imec’s Materials and Components Analysis unit is looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher to reinforce the Chemical and Surface Analysis (CSA) team. This team is responsible for:

  • Providing fast and reliable material analysis based on photoemission to support the technological development of all imec programs. AES and EDX are also involved in a lesser extend in the team.
  • Performing world leading research to cope with future metrology challenges such as the continuous shrinking dimensions, novel materials and new architectures.

Being at the forefront of characterization, we have a unique position in close contact with most of the latest developments of all imec programs. Technically, the CSA team is at present operating a state of the art 300mm-based angle-resolved spectrometer (Theta300 from Thermofisher).
With current Si scaling technology entering the sub 10nm regime, a multitude of novel materials and physical concepts are being investigated as potential replacement for Si technology. Examples are high-k/metal gates stacks, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) and CNT’s as high mobility materials, ferro-electric materials for future FeRAM memories, thin magnetic films for future STT-MRAM and Magnetic Tunnel Junctions, GaN for high power devices, IGZO for integration in the back end, etc. Progress in these fields builds extensively on proper knowledge and understanding of material interactions at surfaces and (most often buried) interfaces as these play a crucial role in boosting the performance. Photoemission is in that respect one of the key analysis techniques but is also often limited for interface analysis due to its limited analysis depth.
Recently, novel instrumentation is emerging based on hard (high) energy XPS (HAXPES) with X-ray energies increasing up to 9 keV, with high intensity. Such an increase leads to higher information depth (from 5 up to 30-50 nm) and opens the possibility for non-destructive chemical analysis of complex structures. Based on these prospects, IMEC will have weekly access to a high energy-high intensity instrument (>9keV) for two days a week and will acquire new photoemission spectrometers with both XPS and HAXPES at an intermediate energy between AlK and 9keV.
However, the HAXPES concept is still far from a routine application as the fundamental parameters for quantitative analysis are not yet fully established.  For developing these aspects, we are looking for a post-doc (2 years) in order to investigate the underlying physics (science of metrology) as the high energy may induce (many-particle) final-state effects different from conventional XPS. These studies will form the basis of much improved quantitative analysis with HAXPES, towards routine use of HAXPES. Once established, these new insights will be applied to numerous practical problems encountered in the semiconductor and/or energy industry (battery, PV, ...), giving a direct introduction of the candidate to industry-related research and development. HAXPES analysis at synchrotron facilities may also be part of this research work.
The candidate should thus have the ambition and skills to modify established and/or to propose new metrology concepts required to probe the relevant material properties at scaled dimensions. We are looking for an expert in SPM surface analysis and materials characterization.

The candidate will closely interact with the staff of the Materials and Components Analysis team as well as with students, post-docs, device and process engineers working in this field and help them unravel the properties of their material and devices by creating the methodologies for that purpose.


What we do for you

We offer you the opportunity to join one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology at its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. With your talent, passion and expertise, you’ll become part of a team that makes the impossible possible. Together, we shape the technology that will determine the society of tomorrow.
We are proud of our open, multicultural, and informal working environment with ample possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process; not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through, 'our corporate university', we actively invest in your development to further your technical and personal growth.
We are aware that your valuable contribution makes imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of a competitive salary.

Who you are

  • You obtained a PhD in Physics, Chemistry, (Nano-) Materials engineering, Surface Chemistry or equivalent.
  • Knowledge and profound experience in photoemission based surface analysis and characterization is a must. Knowledge and experience of various other metrology techniques is a strong asset.
  • We value your analytical skills, interest in how things are measured, and how data is interpreted.
  • You can work autonomously, are well organized, have a good attention to detail and value quality.
  • Given the experimental character of the position, you are not afraid to work with/adapt/maintain tools.
  • We are looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated team player with good communication and reporting skills.

Given the international character of imec, fluency in English is a must.

This postdoctoral position is funded by imec through KU Leuven. Because of the specific financing statute which targets international mobility for postdocs, only candidates who did not stay or work/study in Belgium for more than 24 months in the past 3 years can be considered for the position (short stays such as holiday, participation in conferences, etc. are not taken into account).

Additional information can be obtained from Dr. T. Conard ([email protected]) or Prof. W. Vandervorst ([email protected])


Job Application:

Apply online via the direct apply link

Date Posted: July 19, 2018