Characterization of lateral nanostructures using Rutherford backscattering spectrometry

Leuven - Master projects/internships
More than two weeks ago

Develop a characterization method for periodic nanowires from advanced patterning with critical dimensions below 10 nm

At imec a wide variety of front edge nano-electronic devices and applications (transistors, memories, solar cells,...) are being investigated and developed. For this, more powerful characterization techniques are necessary to assist in the development of the extremely challenging new devices ( 9 nm technology). High-energy ion beam based materials characterization (a.o. known as Rutherford backscattering spectrometry - RBS) is a powerful approach to study nanostructures. For this, imec operates a 2 million Volt ion accelerator connected to high-vacuum detection end-stations and unique data-acquisition electronics. Using advanced technology originally developed for high-energy physics and recently first applied to ion beam analysis at imec, we are able to configure a multi-detector configuration strategically tailored to a specific problem.

A main challenge towards the future developments is to identify suitable techniques to quantitatively characterize metallic nanowires with critical dimensions (CD) of a few nanometer. It is recognized that Rutherford backscattering holds promise to meet the requirements. Therefore, the project aims to employ the newest data-acquisition infrastructure and multi-detector systems to develop High-Sensitivity RBS and RBS-tomography as novel characterization methods for nanowires and even for 3D nanostructures.

You will be involved in the geometric design of the detector configuration. You will optimize the detector configuration based on fundamental understanding and simulations. You will participate in the practical implementation of the detector system and in the execution of the experiments at the accelerator.‚Äč

Using state-of-the art analysis software you will analyze the acquired spectra to extract properties of the nanostructures, and even propose further improvements to the experimental approach as well as to the modelling.

This project will give you in-depth experience in state-of-the art materials characterization, using a high-energy accelerator and applied to area-selective ALD and confined 2D and 3D nanostructures. You will familiarize yourself with technologies that are key in future nano-electronics nodes. The project is especially interesting if you further on wish specialize (e.g. through a PhD) in materials characterization, materials engineering, as well as in device integration engineering.

Type of project: Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis

Duration: 6 months

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science

Required background: Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Physics

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Johan Meersschaut (

Imec allowance will be provided

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