Characterization of nanoscale wetting states

Ongeveer een week geleden

The topic has a broad spectrum of applications and impacts on modern technology, from mass IC production, biomimetic functional materials to single molecule detection in nanofluidics

The continuous miniaturization of electronic devices relies on effective wet processes that are routinely used in lithography, etching and cleaning. In advanced technology nodes, where the critical dimensions of devices scale down to sub 10 nm, partial wetting of deep trenches can pose a great challenge for wet processes. Understanding the mechanism on how geometry and surface chemistry affect nanoscale wetting is critical for many key process steps, such as gap fill by flowable CVD, nanoscale wet etching and cleaning of high aspect ratio structures in confined space. The same mechanism can be applied to the design of biomimetic superhydrophobic materials for self-cleaning and anti-fouling applications.


The internship will focus mainly on experimental work, to be carried out in IMEC's state-of-the-art cleanroom facilities. The student will receive training on all tools required to perform his/her research and get hands on experience of various processing and characterization techniques. In-situ characterization techniques are critical for capturing the dynamic process of capillary interactions with nanostructures. In this project, contact angle measurements and attenuated total reflectance--Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy will be used to investigate the impact of different surface chemistry and geometry profile on wetting properties of heterogeneous surfaces1-3.

The student should preferably have a background in physics, chemistry or material science.

Type of work: literature 20 %, 80% experiments

Supervisor: XiuMei Xu (


1.        Xu, X. et al. Capturing wetting states in nanopatterned silicon. ACS Nano 8, 885–93 (2014).

2.        Vrancken, N. et al. Superhydrophobic breakdown on nanostructured surfaces characterized by in-situ ATR-FTIR. Langmuir 33, 3601–3609 (2017).

3.        Vrancken, N. et al. In-situ ATR-FTIR for dynamic analysis of superhydrophobic breakdown on nanostructured silicon surfaces. Sci. Rep. 8, 1–12 (2018).​

Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis

Duration: 6-12 month

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

Required background: Chemistry/Chemical Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: XiuMei Xu (

Imec allowance will be provided for students studying at a non-Belgian university.

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