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PhD position in material science: Thin film structure - property relations investigated through diffuse X-ray scattering in Zürich

Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.


100%, Zurich, temporary

The X-ray Platform and the Laboratory for Multifunctional Ferroic Materials of the Department of Materials are looking for candidates in a PhD project involving in-house and synchrotron X-ray experiments as well as local structure computer modeling.

Project background

Thin films are solid layers with thicknesses ranging from single atomic layers up to a few micrometers. They show scientifically and economically interesting properties that cannot be reached with bulk materi­als. Typical applications are elec­tronic or optical devices, coatings, sensors or functional surfaces, to name only a few. For a better understanding and further development of thin-film materials it is of fundamen­tal importance to get in­sight into structure-property relations down to the atomic scale. The emerging field of single-crystal diffuse scattering provides valuable information on corresponding local order phenomena such as the structure of domains and domain walls, domain sizes or local symmetry violations. However, corresponding experimental and modelling tech­niques have so far only rudimentarily been transferred from bulk material to thin film applica­tions.

Job description

The project focuses on the development of strategies for measuring and model­ling of diffuse scattering from single-crystalline thin films. Experiments include in-house and synchrotron experiments with hard and soft X-rays in reflection, transmission or grazing incident geometry. The local structure and corresponding diffuse scattering will be modelled with the three-dimensional difference pair distribution function (3D-DeltaPDF) and complementary techniques. The resulting characterization methods will have a significant im­pact on the understanding and further development of high-performance thin-film structures.

Your profile

The ideal candidate has a master degree in physics, material science or a closely related discipline and a strong interest in crystallography and X-ray diffraction methods. Aptitude for experimental work and interest in computer programming (e.g. Python, Matlab, C++) are essen­tial for the success of the project. Knowledge of solid-state physics and a strong motivation to work in an international and multidisciplinary team complete your profile.

ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

The position is immediately available. Applications should include a motivation let­ter, the CV, references and copies of certificates. For questions about the position please contact Dr. Thomas Weber: thomas.weber@mat.ethz.ch (no applications). Please apply exclusively via the online application portal. Applications sent by email or post will not be considered.

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