The Coating Technologies Group in Empa's Laboratory for Surface Science & Coating Tech-nologies performs physical vapor deposition (PVD) of functional thin-films and coatings, with a particular focus on plasma-based processes. Our goal is to develop coatings with improved properties, but also to synthesize entirely new functional materials. (www.empa.ch/ct
We are currently offering a
PhD position on the "combinatorial development of multi-functional ceramic thin films"
The development of many next-generation technologies requires thin films and coatings, which exhibit more than one functionality. In this research project, we are targeting the development of novel ceramic thin film materials that are capable of this feat. Such materials may combine favorable mechanical properties, such as high hardness or scratch-resistance, with other functionalities. These can range from high transparency and electrical conductivity to their chemical stability or even their piezoelectric response. Applications of such coatings range from simple optical components such as lenses to more complex devices such as MEMS or displays. The materials of interest for this study mainly include ternary and quaternary nitrides and oxynitrides. Simultaneously optimizing multiple functional properties in these materials is a complex challenge with many variables. To accelerate this process you will employ high-throughput combinatorial materials science techniques.
The project is part of a larger effort in our laboratory to develop tools and methods to accelerate the development of novel functional thin films. As part of our Accelerated Materials Development team, you will use state-of-the-art physical vapor deposition processes, such as high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) in combination with automated in-depth materials characterization and data analysis. The goal is to rapidly investigate the synthesis-structure-property relationships in complex synthesis phase spaces.
You have a master’s degree in physics, materials science, chemistry, electrical engineering or a related discipline with hands-on experience in thin film deposition and UHV technology. Prior experience or knowledge in one or more of the following areas is a clear advantage: materials science, thin film technology, nitrides, sputter deposition, materials' characterization (especially mechanical characterization, XRD, XPS and/or SEM/TEM), data science and basic programming skills.
The processing and analysis of larger data sets will be one of the challenges in this project, so candidates with prior experience in data science and programming (e.g. IgorPro, Python, R) are especially encouraged to apply.
The ability to collaborate in a multidisciplinary research environment is essential. Personal initiative, ability to work systematically, reliability, responsibility, teamwork and communication skills are a must. Excellent knowledge of English (oral and written) is mandatory. German is an advantage, but not required.
A stimulating, international and collaborative research environment at a leading research institution with an excellent infrastructure and a broad interdisciplinary surrounding. In this fully funded 4-year PhD position, the candidate will work on the Empa Campus in Dübendorf and will be enrolled in the doctoral program of ETH Zürich. - The position is available upon agreement