Researcher in Physics

University of Twente


The XUV Optics group is embedded in the MESA+ Institute, which is one of the largest nanotechnology research institutes in the world, delivering competitive and successful high-quality research. The institute employs 500 people of which 275 are PhD’s or PostDocs. With its unique NanoLab facilities the institute holds 1250 m2 of cleanroom space and state-of-the-art research equipment.

Job description

Are you interested in research on free-standing thin films of only few tens of nanometer thickness, which still need to be fully radiation-hard?


We are looking for a motivated and skilled PhD researcher to work on the physical and chemical processes of such films. These transparent membranes are used as protective “pellicles” in EUV photolithography, where they are placed just above the sensitive photomask to prevent photomask contamination by particles. The membranes need to resist not only thermo-mechanical stresses, but also surface degradation by photon induced chemical reactions, bombardment by low energetic ions, and chemical etching by radicals. The aim of the project is to develop fundamental knowledge on the film degradation mechanisms and find materials and processes that can mediate the pellicle damage. 

The PhD research will focus on experiments that isolate specific damage mechanisms, such as low energy ion bombardment, and investigate the relation between experimental conditions and surface modification like implantation, sputtering, densification. It is expected that such relationships are benchmarked against semi-empirical models that predict the damage from the basic physics processes involved, under varying experimental conditions.

Your tasks will be to design and plan the experiments that lead to a better understanding of the pellicle damage mechanisms. You will fabricate samples using a variety of deposition and cleanroom processing techniques, with high precision analysis of the sample surface composition and structure, before and after degradation experiments. You will utilize and, where needed improve, setups for exposing pellicle and pellicle-like surfaces to ions, radicals and heat. You will construct semi-analytical models to explain the observed surface modifications and test such models against exposure conditions.

The project will be carried out in the Industrial Focus Group XUV Optics where a new multidisciplinary research programme on thin film optical devices has started. The group develops forefront fundamental research, relevant to high tech applications ( The research will take place in a state-of-the-art thin film laboratory within the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Twente, in collaboration with various industrial partners.

Your profile

  • You have a Masters degree in solid state or plasma-surface physics, materials science or a related field.
  • You have experience with plasma, thin film deposition and thin film analysis setups.
  • You have affinity with the realization of physical or chemical depositions of nanoscale thin films (MEMS, CMOS or related) and their optical, structural, and mechanical analysis.
  • You are an excellent team player in an enthusiastic group of scientists and engineers working on a common theme.
  • You are creative, like to push boundaries, and are highly motivated to address a major science challenge in thin film physics.
  • You are fluent in English and able to collaborate intensively with industrial and academic parties in regular meetings and work visits.


Your reaction should include an application/motivation letter, emphasizing your specific interest and motivation, a detailed CV, a publication list, contact details of referees, and an academic transcript of B.Sc. and M.Sc. education. An interview and a scientific presentation will be part of the selection procedure.For more information about the position, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Robbert van de Kruijs at

Our offer

You will be appointed on a fulltime position for four years. The position is available immediately. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in a stimulating scientific environment. The PhD salary is € 2.325 in the first year, increasing to € 2.972 in the fourth year. The offer further involves a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%, a solid pension scheme, a minimum of 29 holidays, and numerous professional and personal development programmes.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.

In your application, please refer to


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