Three fulltime attosecond scientist PhD student positions opened at imec, Leuven, Belgium

At imec, in affiliation with KU-Leuven, PhD students have the excitement of working in an international environment with world-class expertise and using state of the art facilities. Besides R&D; with world-leading companies, imec strongly invests in fundamental research. This long-term research is key for imec’s research funnel. It is the base of our future R&D; leading to industrial innovations. Currently, we have three fulltime positions opened in our new attosecond science laboratory, the AttoLab. Come join us to explore the ultrafast molecular dynamics of imageable polymers, called photoresists, that are exposed to 92.5 eV photons.

1. Determining the ultrafast molecular dynamics of exposed extreme-ultraviolet photoresists:
Join us to map the ultrafast quantum dynamics of photon-induced ionization processes of photosensitive materials exposed with 13.5 nm (92 eV) extreme ultraviolet photons. The EUV photolithography process defines semiconductor device circuitry patterns at the sub-7 nanometer technology nodes. This is an exciting opportunity for innovative people to explore ultrafast photon/materials interaction dynamics. In this PhD, the student will use the time-resolved spectroscopies: PhotoEmission Electron Microscopy (PEEM), Ultraviolet Photoemission Spectroscopy (UPS), X-Ray Photoemission Spectroscopy (XPS), EUV, and InfraRed to ascertain the photoionization pathways of photochemically active materials by comparing their spectral results to those generated by computational chemical techniques to assess molecular structure as the ionization process progresses. Along with the spectral work, appropriate materials can be lithographically imaged using interference lithography to produce features as small as 4 nm lines and spaces (8 nm pitch). With this combined information we will seek to improve material imaging performance.

2. Ab initio modeling of Extreme UV - Matter interactions:

Investigate the fundamentals of photoresist chemistry at EUV energies, imec has built a new spectroscopic facility, where the signatures of the photoresists can be monitored starting from only hundreds of attoseconds after the interaction with an EUV pulse. Changes in various spectroscopic spectra indicate the occurrence of reaction steps and build a unique signature of the material degradation process. However, determining what is happening at the atomic level from the lone reading of spectra is far from being a trivial task.
Through this Ph.D., we aim solving this issue by taking advantage of the predicting power of atomistic simulations to allow a comparison of the measured spectra to state-of-the-art quantum chemical calculations and to understand the degradation mechanisms that take place. Performing these calculations and building fundamental insights of the full process will help developing the much-needed understanding of what happens in EUV photoresists and constitutes the skeleton of this PhD. project.

3. Time resolved IR and photoemission studies of EUV-Matter interactions:

Unravel the chemistry and kinetics in state-of-the-art photo-resist materials in a world-unique laboratory.
The attoscience facility, co-developed by the Advanced Patterning (AP) and the Materials and Component Analysis (MCA) teams within imec, comprises of two pulsed coherent photon sources, one set at 92 eV and the other with a pre-selectable energy between 26-124 eV. In addition, there is an IR end station and there will be a photo-emission end station containing an Al-ka source at 1486.6 eV, amongst other things. This will allow many novel experiments inclusive of time resolved Infra-Red (IR) spectroscopy, Ultraviolet Photoelectron Spectroscopy (UPS), Angle Resolved Photo Emission Spectroscopy (ARPES), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), and their time resolved variants inclusive of Two Photon Photoelectron Emission (2PPE).
Through this, the PhD student will actively work on this facility, as well as with the XPS within the MCA labs if needed. The primary aim will be to use the IR and photoemission spectroscopies to gain a better insight into the chemistry and kinetics taking place in Photo-resist materials under EUV exposure. Other exotic materials such as Transition Metal Dichalcogenides, Topological Insulators, etc. will also be examined using this facility. To aid in Photo-resist spectral identification and to understand the time dependent mechanisms that take place, a parallel PhD activity employing atomistic simulations will be active to allow a comparison of the measured spectra with quantum chemical calculations. The successful applicant will learn all the necessary skills at imec.