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Correlating Local Defects to Global Wafer Properties in Next Generation Semiconductor Platforms


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Monday 6 May 2024
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Competition funded
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Professor Rik Drummond-Brydson
Additional supervisors
Professor Andy Brown (Leeds), Professor Paul Meredith (Swansea)
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Societal recognition of the criticality of semiconductor-technology arises from national initiatives, public debate around sovereign supply and the central role of the sector in delivering net zero. This joint Leeds-Swansea University PhD project in collaboration with Industry partners (Tescan, the National Physics Laboratory and the companies of the South Wales CSconnected Cluster) will focus on characterising semiconductors at the wafer-scale using new advanced electron microscopy capabilities. It will investigate defects, interfacial epitaxies, doping profiles/distributions and lateral uniformities in devices and seeks to correlate these defects with reliability and failure modes, so developing metrology methods and enhancing data integration.<br /> <br /> This studentship will be part of an exciting new Doctoral Training Initiative called UK Semiconductor Industry Future Skills or UK-SIFS for short. UK-SIFS will provide valuable and highly practical skills of substantial relevance to the UK semiconductor industry such as formal cleanroom fabrication training, vacuum systems maintenance and operation, process control (six sigma) in semiconductor manufacturing, semiconductor supply chains and export control, semiconductor packaging, and technology translation in the semiconductor sector. The Initiative will create two cohorts of students in 2024 and 2025 across Swansea University and the University of Leeds and is a collaboration between the two universities, the Royce Institute, and industry partners such as KLA, QinetiQ, IQE, NSG Pilkington, Renishaw, Edwards Vacuum, Space Forge, Paragraph, Tescan, Vishay Maxpower, National Physical Laboratory, Paragraf and many others. Our partners will co-deliver the DTI training content, plus co-supervise PhD research projects, plus there will also be a programme of secondments at industry partner sites. UK-SIFS provides not only the considerable benefits of research training and collaboration across a multidisciplinary cohort working in areas such as power electronics, clean energy, bioelectronics and sensing, THz devices, optoelectronics, molecular semiconductors, quantum technology, electronic glass and advanced heterogeneous integration, but is also a unique opportunity for those students who may want to connect closely with the semiconductor and related industries for their PhD and aspire to be the future leaders of the sector in the UK and beyond.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px"><strong>Background. </strong>This project is equipment intensive in terms of the use of the Electron Microscopy and Cleanroom Facilities at both Leeds and at Swansea. The project will significantly benefit from the recently completed &pound;96M Sir William Henry Bragg Building&mdash;the University of Leeds&rsquo; largest capital investment in its history. The building provides state-of-the-art facilities for our new <a href="">Bragg Centre for Materials Research</a>, a strategic investment of over &pound;30M. The Bragg Centre brings together over 360 academic staff, PDRAs, RTPs and PGRs from 15 schools across the campus to enable the discovery, creation, characterization, and exploitation of advanced materials such as semiconductors. The Centre consolidates the University&rsquo;s large portfolio of outstanding advanced materials research and specialised facilities. Of these, and of particular importance to this proposed CDT, are our new Leeds Nanotechnology Cleanroom, the adjacent Royce Institute multi-chamber materials deposition system, III-V semiconductor MBE growth facilities, as well as extensive microscopy and materials characterisation capabilities (including <a href="">Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy (LEMAS) Centre</a>) &ndash; all accommodated in the highest calibre shared new laboratory environments. The project will also benefit from co-supervision at Swansea University (Prof Paul Meredith) and access to the &pound;54M Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM) which has 1000 m2 of cleanroom space with a particular emphasis on advanced processes for vertical device architectures. CISM will allow access to a Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope (the Zeiss Crossbeam 550L large chamber with an airlock and custom stage for 200mm wafer-scale characterization with on-board analytical tools such as cathodoluminescence and x-ray microanalysis).</p> <p>In a collaboration with a European instrument manufacturer TESCAN, the LEMAS Centre within Bragg at Leeds are currently testing a new electron microscope (one of only two in the world) - a dedicated scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) capable of chemical mapping and combined diffractive imaging (so called 4D STEM) at the nanometre scale. This allows the detailed correlated imaging and mapping of crystal structure and strain (measured by electron diffraction) and its relationship to variations in chemical composition (measured by X-ray spectroscopy) in nanostructured materials and devices. This information allows to understand how the fabrication and subsequent processing of semiconductor materials is linked to the ultimate functional properties of the device. You will work with a well established team in the <a href="">Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy (LEMAS)</a> and also members of the <a href="">Bragg Centre for Materials Research</a>. This project will suit a self-motivated student with a Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering background. The student will gain hands-on experience of a wide range of interdisciplinary research skills in state-of-the-art materials characterisation techniques, materials chemistry, materials physics, materials engineering as well as data analysis, data processing methods and coding. The student will benefit from working in a vibrant and multidisciplinary environment with the <a href="">Bragg Centre for Materials Research</a> and will interact with staff and students across the different Schools and at Swansea University.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>.&nbsp;Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PHP Chemical &amp; Process Engineering FT</strong></em>&nbsp;and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for&nbsp;is <strong><em>Correlating Local Defects to Global Wafer Properties in Next Generation Semiconductor Platforms</em></strong> as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Prof. Rik Drummond-Brydson</a> as your proposed supervisor. Please state in the Finance section that the funding source you are applying for is <em><strong>EPSRC CASE Competition 2024/25:&nbsp; University of Leeds</strong></em>.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 6 May 2024:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p class="MsoNoSpacing">A highly competitive EPSRC CASE Competition Studentship offering the award of fees, together with a tax-free maintenance grant &pound;19,237 and an additional Top Up of &pound;3,300 per year for 3.5 years. Training and support will also be provided. <strong>This funding is supported by a CASE contribution from the electron microscope manufacturer TESCAN and there will be substantial opportunities to interact with the company.</strong></p> <p>This opportunity is open to all applicants.&nbsp; All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC CASE Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.</p> <p>Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about this project, please contact Professor Rik Drummond-Brydson by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;</p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>