Postdoc: Bottom-up fabrication of 3D nanostructures with atomic-level control


The fabrication of nanoelectronics currently relies almost completely on top-down processing, which is becoming more and more demanding now that the devices of the future predominantly consists of 3D nanostructures. In this project recently funded with an ERC Starting Grant, the goal is to synthesize materials using atoms as building blocks in a bottom-up fashion. While this ambition connects to Feynman's vision formulated in his lecture 'There is plenty of room at the bottom', the realisation of bottom-up fabrication still remains a challenge, especially when considering approaches that can employed for high-volume manufacturing. To this end, the popular thin film deposition technique of atomic layer deposition (ALD) will be used as a starting point, which allows for the processing of materials with atomic-level control. New approaches for area-selective ALD in 3D nanostructures and topographically-selective ALD will be developed using a multidisciplinary approach which combines: (i) vapor-phase dosing of inhibitor molecules as a chemical method and (ii) the exposure to directional ions from a plasma as a physical method. This project will focus on acquiring fundamental understanding of the underlying reaction mechanisms as well as the development of new fabrication schemes.

Project & Job description

We are looking for a postdoc who is interested in performing density functional theory (DFT) and kinetic Monte Carlo simulations studies, closely connected to the experimental work performed in this project. The simulations focus on the functionalization of surfaces with organic molecules, as well as on the interaction of those functionalized surfaces with ALD precursor molecules and plasma species. These theoretical studies will be carried out in close collaboration with the group of dr. Tania Sandoval at the Technical University Federico Santa Maria (UTFSM, Chile). The postdoc will fulfil a bridge function between the groups and is also expected to spend time at UTFSM during research visits. The postdoc is a 2.5-year position intended to start from January 2021, and can potentially be extended beyond two years.


The work will be performed in the group Plasma & Materials Processing at the Department of Applied Physics at the TU/e. The PMP group focuses on the advancement of the science and technology of plasma and materials processing, a research area which is in essence multidisciplinary and encompasses the research fields of plasma physics, surface science, and materials science. The scientific objective of the group is to obtain 'atomic' level understanding of the interaction of plasmas and gases with materials.


We are looking for a talented and motivated candidate with a background in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Material Science, (Applied) Physics, or similar, who performed theoretical simulations related to materials research during his/her PhD studies. He/she must have a good understanding of chemical and physical processes playing a role during thin film deposition. Expertise on surface functionalization, plasma physics, and/or thin film synthesis would be an asset. To facilitate the collaboration within the project, the candidate should have interest in the interpretation of experimental studies, as well as in device fabrication schemes. Excellent communication skills in English (both written and spoken) are essential.

Responsibilities and tasks:

  • Study of the functionalization of surfaces using density functional theory (DFT).
  • Define Monte Carlo simulations to screen inhibitor molecules for area-selective and topographically-selective ALD.
  • Provide input for experimental work based on the simulations and help in the interpretation of experimental results.
  • Report results to collaborators, preparation of scientific papers and conference presentations.
  • Daily supervision of BSc, MSc and PhD students.


  • PhD in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Material Science, (Applied) Physics, or a comparable domain.
  • Ability to conduct high quality academic research, demonstrated for instance by a relevant PhD thesis and/or publication(s).
  • Excellent mastering of the English language, good communication and leadership skills. Note that there is no Dutch language requirement.

Be a team player and able to work in a dynamic, interdisciplinary context.


  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for 2.5 years.
  • You will have free access to high-quality training programs for research and valorization, professional development courses for PhD students, and didactical courses of the TEACH training program.
  • A gross monthly salary between € 3.353,- and € 4.402,- (on a fulltime basis), depending on experience and knowledge.
  • Benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits (including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes).
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information on the project may be obtained from A.J.M. Mackus (a.j.m.mackus[at] If you are interested in this position, please send in your application by using the 'Apply now'-button on this page.

For information about terms of employment, please contact our HR department: hrservices.flux[at]

Applications should include:

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation and qualifications for the position. Please write a separate paragraph in which you indicate specifically your experience in the areas of surface functionalization, plasma physics, and/or thin film deposition.
  • A detailed CV
  • A list of publications and conference contributions
  • Names and contact information of two or more references

Screening of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)



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