PhD position on Defect Driven Local Charging

PhD position on Defect Driven Local Charging

Published Deadline Location
6 Nov 24 Dec Eindhoven

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Job description

We are looking for a PhD candidate with an experimental physics background to work on defect driven local charging in in the PI-group Extreme non-equilibrium plasmas of Sander Nijdam. This group is part of the group Elementary Processes in Gas Discharges at the Applied Physics and Science Education Department of Eindhoven University of Technology. This project will be in cooperation with ASML Lithography and MI-Partners.


To meet the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), future ASML machines require improved performance in terms of overlay, focus and throughput. Currently defectivity (particles) in the vacuum clamping gap needed for electrostatic clamping of wafers and/or reticles affects the overlay performance and the effect is expected to further deteriorate performance when moving to increased throughput.

To further minimize overlay impact and secure a technology roadmap it is needed to understand, control and optimize how particles behave in the clamping gap. This can be done for example by immobilizing the particles and/or minimizing their trapping and emission of charge or maybe even to actively remove them, e.g. by an electrostatic pickup means, after their location has been identified from scanner and/or metrology data.

Project goal

The ultimate goal is to (i) fully understand the behavior of realistic (size & shape) conducting and dielectric particles in typical clamping gaps under relevant conditions, (ii) optimize the geometry and (both) surfaces to minimize the impact of particles on the performance, (iii) improve understanding and improve the performance of today's particle removal methods and (iv) propose, specify and develop an in-situ tool to remove such particles.

The specific goal for the PhD in this project is

(a) study the behavior of particles in a gap using first principles, numerical models and experimental verification. This includes effects like field emission, secondary emission, polarization, micro-discharges, electron induced outgassing and charge (de)trapping on dielectric materials.

(b) Specify, develop, fabricate and test improved configurations, incl. surfaces, possible treatments and cleaning methods to optimize the behavior of particles in a gap with a high electric field.


Beyond collaboration with your project partners at TU/e, ASML and MI-Partners, you will interact with the international network of applied plasma and high voltage technology through schools and conferences.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


The successful candidate has a Master degree and an excellent academic record in physics and or a closely related field. He/she must have a strong attitude towards experimental physics with a focus on plasma physics and/or high voltage technology. Affinity with numerical modelling (besides experimental skills) is seen as a pre.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:
  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale 27 (min. €2,541 max. €3,247).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V34.7055


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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