PhD Simulation of Scanning Electron Microscope Images

PhD Simulation of Scanning Electron Microscope Images

Published Deadline Location
14 Sep 15 Oct Delft

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Challenge: Closing the gap between experimental and simulated SEM images.
Change: Developing simulations that challenge the boundaries of known physics.
Impact: Driving the accuracy of electron microscopes for industrial applications.

Job description

Electron microscopy is at the heart of innovations and applications on the nanoscale in a wide range of sectors. The technology is, for instance, used in the semiconductor industry to observe engineered nanodevices, as well as for medical applications like cancer research. The major challenge of using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) is to correctly interpret the images created by the tool. The formation of these images depends on how the electron beam interacts with the composition and topology of the samples. Your challenge as a PhD student at TU Delft is to further develop and program models that will enable simulation of such SEM images. You will work closely with our partner ASML, leveraging fundamental research to improve nanoscale electronic device manufacturing.


To ensure truly reliable, high-resolution measurements, it is crucial to understand the physics of the image formation in a SEM. You will build on existing models , embedding the comprehensive physics of electron beam scattering in substrates and semiconductor devices. One of the you will focus on, is image artifacts caused by charges accumulated on sample surfaces. Having developed your models, you will translate them into software programs and conduct simulations. You will get the unique opportunity to compare experimental and simulated SEM images, using real SEMs to evaluate your models. As part of your role, you will write scientific articles and attend leading international conferences. In addition, you will mentor bachelor and master students, and supervise tutorials, exercise classes and labs.


At TU Delft, you will join the 40-strong, internationally diverse Microscopy Instrumentation and Technology group in the Department of Imaging Physics. Your colleagues are assistant and associate professors, postdocs, fellow PhD students, lecturers and the technicians who are responsible for our high-tech equipment. We foster a welcoming, supportive and social atmosphere, and will help you feel at home quickly. Being a multidisciplinary group, we enjoy exchanging knowledge and ideas. We share the drive to conduct fundamental research to develop and improve next-gen instruments, for which we harness our combined expertise in physics, electronics and software technology. You will get extensive training to learn to use SEMs as well as the DelftBlue supercomputer. In addition, you will get all the education and coaching you need to build your career in research.


Learn more about the Department of Imaging Physics



Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You are highly motivated to conduct fundamental research into electron beam imaging geared to accelerating innovations for industry and society as a whole. Embracing the opportunity to work with leading industrial partners, you know how to collaborate and achieve meaningful results geared to the development of pragmatic applications. You also put your curiosity to good use: you don’t take anomalies for granted and take the initiative to dig deeper and spar with experts. Harnessing your communication skills, you convince colleagues at TU Delft and ASML of your approach, models and programs. And you enjoy interacting with and mentoring talented bachelor and master students, while expanding your own knowledge and competencies.

You also have:

  • An MSc in Applied Physics or Electrical Engineering.
  • Demonstrable modelling, C++ and Python programming skills.
  • Thorough knowledge of solid-state physics.
  • Experience of, or a keen interest in electron-matter interaction, condensed matter physics and/or electron beam imaging.
  • A good command of spoken and written English, as you’ll be working in an internationally diverse community. You will also write scientific articles and your dissertation in English and participate in English-taught courses.


For more details, please check TU Delft’s webpage on how to become a PhD candidate.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 maanden.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.



Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!



Faculty Applied Sciences

With more than 1,100 employees, including 150 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,600 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we educate innovative students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.



  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03414


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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