PhD researcher on multiscale simulations and mechanics of materials for nanoelectronics

Leuven - PhD
More than two weeks ago
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Multiscale modeling of material properties covering centimeter down to atomistic dimensional scales is a tough challenge in material science and engineering. The main problem is that there is a missing link between the macroscopic reality, governed by continuum mechanics, and atomistic realities governed by particle mechanics. A proper linkage of these theories is necessary to describe and understand the physics that governs the constitutive behavior of the full system and the structural integrity of multi-scaled materials.

The recent technological progresses in lithography and patterning techniques used in the integration of nanoelectronic devices open the possibility to create complex multilayer stacks and devices, strongly scaled down and whose nanometer scale properties have an unknown impact on the electrical and mechanical performances. Therefore, being able to capture the mechanical properties of nanoscaled layers is of fundamental importance to not only improve the performances of logic and memory electronic devices but also to consolidate descriptive and predictive models to improve their reliability. One main drawback is that nowadays there is no (or limited) physical tools currently able to measure the mechanical properties at the nanometers scales. In addition, these multilayer materials cannot be treated as individual independent layers and their interface properties are expected to become dominant over the bulk ones.

The focus of this PhD is to build a modeling link allowing to study fundamental relations between packaging induced stresses (cm scale) and device performance at atomistic scale. The mechanical properties of nano-confined materials should be studied using atomistic simulations (such as density functional theory and molecular mechanics), deriving information on the scaling of Young’s Modulus upon confinement of metals, semiconductors and dielectrics. The output generated will then be coupled with finite element modeling techniques to gain the insights needed into the mechanical integrity and reliability of nanoscaled devices.

Imec will provide training to both UNIX/Linux and to the material modeling techniques. A strong motivation, a good knowledge of solid-state physics and/or mechanical engineering and of UNIX/LINUX are a plus. Excellent writing and oral communication skills are desired.

Required background: material engineering, mechanics, physics with strong interest in numerical analysis

Type of work: 10% literature, 90% material and modeling

Supervisor: Michel Houssa

Daily advisors: Geoffrey Pourtois, Mario Gonzalez

The reference code for this PhD position is STS1712-41. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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