/Advanced modelling of nanofluidic/nanoelectronic field effect devices

Advanced modelling of nanofluidic/nanoelectronic field effect devices

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Analysing and designing next generation devices for single molecule genomics & proteomics

​The continuous optimization of the metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) since the mid-60s has enabled ultra-scaled devices. This nano-scaling of MOSFETs has primarily benefited the field of computing, but is also expected to benefit the interdisciplinary field of biosensing. While biosensing, and in particular DNA sequencing, has been done successfully by ion current sensing through nanopores, the nanopore FET has been recently proposed as an alternative design. The detection of molecular motion through a nanopore inside a FET based on the FET's electrical characteristics is expected to solve multiple challenges, by offering larger signals, higher bandwidth, denser integration and parallel sensing. These benefits furthermore make the nanopore FET promising for proteomics, a stepping stone needed in the journey towards precision and personalized medicine. 

This project targets to determine the feasibility of the nanopore FET for proteomics, by exploring the optimal design configuration and the observability of protein fingerprints in the FET signal, while connecting closely with experimental input from FET experts and from molecular dynamics experts. Modeling efforts are ground-breaking as a solver platform, including both semiconductor drift-diffusion equations as well as Nernst-Planck and Navier-Stokes equations for liquids, is virtually non-existing. A prototype design as in the figure below has been established with OpenFOAM, an open source C++-based toolbox. The applicant will extend the design with promising geometries and detailed molecular models on unstructured meshes. He or she will also perform time-dependent molecular dynamics simulations to document protein fingerprints, and import the key protein features in the OpenFOAM solver. The ongoing prototype development in our world-class 300mm semiconductor processing line and state-of-the-art laboratories will complement the topic of this PhD.

The successful candidate for this topic has a good knowledge of semiconductor physics, as well as a basic understanding of fluid dynamics. Experience with molecular dynamics is a differentiator. He or she has good programming skills. Device simulations will be done with OpenFOAM, a C++-based toolbox. For calibration, physical understanding or pathfinding of completely new device designs, our in-house prototype nanopore FETs will be available. During the project, the candidate will also learn about the fabrication process of the nanopore FET and about electrical and spectroscopic characterization techniques. Interactions will exist with semiconductor device experts and with molecular and fluid dynamics experts at imec.

Advanced modelling of nanofluidic/nanoelectronic field effect devices

Required background: physical engineering, physics, nano science, electrical engineering, computational engineering sciences

Type of work: 40% modeling, 40% physical interpretation, 20% calibration to experimental data

Supervisor: Pol Van Dorpe

Daily advisor: Anne Verhulst

The reference code for this position is 2022-131. Mention this reference code on your application form.