Postdoctoral Researcher/Scientist in the field of HiPIMS process development

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Empa - the place where innovation starts
Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.

Empa's Laboratory for Surface Science & Coating Technologies has an opening for a

Postdoctoral Researcher/Scientist in the field of HiPIMS process development

The Coating Technologies group has a long-standing expertise in physical vapor deposition (PVD) of functional thin-films and coatings, with a particular focus on plasma-based processes, such as magnetron sputtering. Our goal is to understand the synthesis-structure-property relationships in these processes to develop thin-film materials and coatings with improved properties, but also to synthesize entirely new functional materials, such as high-energy metastable phases.

One of the main topics of interest in our group is the development of advanced sputter processes, in-particular using High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS). Ionized physical vapor deposition processes such as HiPIMS enable unprecedented control over the deposition environment and consequently the materials functional properties.

In this project, we aim to develop new HiPIMS processes for the synthesis of functional, metastable thin films, particularly nitrides. The phase formation during reactive sputter deposition depends on many parameters. Due to the complexity of the pulsed sputtering process, a deep understanding of the physical processes in the deposition system is important. To this end, we will develop models and simulate the process using multi-physics software. The results of these simulations will be validated using state-of-the-art process diagnostics as well as material characterization techniques. The objective is to understand and exploit the synthesis-structure-property relationships in reactive HiPIMS to create new thin film materials with tailored functionality.

In addition, this role will support our general research activities in advanced process design and contribute to different projects at Empa ranging from the development of coatings for Li-ion batteries and piezoelectric thin films to the discovery and synthesis of new materials for energy applications.

Your tasks:
  • Deposit inorganic thin film materials (e.g. nitrides and oxides) using advanced sputter deposition processes
  • Monitor the processes with process- and plasma diagnostics and analyze the samples  with state-of-the-art material characterization techniques
  • Model and simulate dynamic PVD processes, in particular pulsed sputtering i.e. HiPIMS, in collaboration with our project partners
  • Investigate the materials' synthesis-structure-property relationships and contribute to extending our understanding of phase-formation and nucleation during non-equilibrium synthesis
  • Contribute to fundamental as well as industrial research projects
  • Support and supervise junior researchers (e.g. Master students, Research Interns)
  • Present your results in peer-reviewed publications and at international conferences

Your profile: 

You are a highly motivated and creative scientist with the right attention to detail. You are interested in understanding complex systems with the goal to develop cutting-edge technology. You enjoy discussing ideas with colleagues from different backgrounds and thrive in a challenging and interdisciplinary environment where teaming and collaboration are encouraged. 
You are not only interested in performing innovative research in physical vapor deposition, but also in shaping the future direction and culture of our group.

Your skills:
  • PhD in Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry or another relevant discipline
  • Experience in physical vapor deposition as well as UHV- and thin-film technology as demonstrated by a convincing publication record
  • Experience in material and/or surface characterization (e.g. XRD, XPS, SEM or TEM)
  • Experience or strong interest in the modeling of dynamic processes
  • Expertise in process and plasma diagnostics (e.g. RFEA, Mass spectrometry, OES, Langmuir probe) as well as the underlying physics are strong assets
  • Basic programming skills as well as experience in handling and processing of large datasets are beneficial (e.g. in Python or IgorPro)
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are mandatory, German language skills are beneficial, but not required

We offer a stimulating, international and collaborative research environment at a leading research institution with an excellent infrastructure and a broad interdisciplinary surrounding. As an institution of the ETH Domain, we offer good employment conditions and plenty of opportunities for your professional development. The workplace is Dübendorf, very close to Zürich. The contract will be initially limited to two years with a possibility of extension. The position is available upon agreement.

For further information about the position please contact Dr Sebastian Siol  sebastian.Siol@empa.ch and visit our websites www.empa.ch/web/s208 and Empa-Video
We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas with transcripts and contact details of two referees. Please upload the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.
Empa, Cristina Marinoni, Human Resources, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Job details

Postdoctoral Researcher/Scientist in the field of HiPIMS process development
Ueberlandstrasse 129 Dübendorf, Switzerland
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Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, conducts cutting-edge materials and technology research.

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