MBE growth and characterization of novel topological insulating oxide-based materials (ERC CoG)

Leuven - PhD
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About a week ago

Exploring new materials towards fault tolerant qubit devices

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Imec is currently investing heavily into exploratory and emerging materials like topological insulators (TI) which could potentially enable a large variety of new functionalities especially towards fault tolerant qubits for quantum computing applications. There is a strong need to better understand and control of these emerging materials as well as explore new device schemes.
In the PhD-project proposed here, we want to explore 3D topological insulator materials grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) technique. The 3D TI of interest are Bismuth-based perovskites which can be grown on various substrates such as MgO(001), SrTiO3(001) and Si(001). The key role of this PhD position will be to study the epitaxial growth of TI thin films by means of MBE, physical (including ARPES) and electrical (including Hall bar structures) characterizations of the grown layers together with the interpretation of experimental results. The research will be strongly linked to the modeling project on exploratory topological insulator materials supported by experts from different domains in imec and KU Leuven.

The PhD candidate is expected to:

  • focus on the heteroepitaxy aspects and study the physics and chemistry involved in MBE growth of TI perovskite materials,
  • learn and master characterization techniques such as ARPES (angle resolved photo emission spectroscopy), Atomic Force Microscopy, X-ray diffraction, TEM (transmission electron microscopy), RBS (Rutherford Backscattering spectroscopy) in order to collect valuable information from measurements performed on the structures fabricated
  • build further on this knowledge to develop the electrical characterization of these TI materials in close collaboration with in-house device specialists.


The candidate PhD student has a solid background in material engineering and material characterization. He/she has a strong affinity for growth (molecular beam epitaxy) and quantum computing technologies and a keen interest in physical and electrical properties of materials. The research will be supported and guided by several experts from different domains in imec. It is part of the plan to realize fault tolerant qubit devices (NOTICE project) funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant.

Type of work: 50% experimental work, 40% characterizations, 10% literature study

Required background: Material engineering, Material characterization (physical and electrical properties), Quantum computing 

Supervisor: Stefan De Gendt

Co-supervisor: Clement Merckling

Daily advisor: Clement Merckling

The reference code for this position is 2020-116. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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