PhD student on “Hermetic Barrier layers for packaging of microelectronic medical implants”

Last application date
Apr 30, 2017 11:44
TW17 - Department of Applied physics
Limited duration
Master’s degree in science / engineering
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate to develop hermetic bidirectional barriers based on flexible alternating layers of polymers and ALD (atomic layer deposition) nanolayers for implantable electronics. The use of electronic devices for medical applications is strongly increasing, especially the amount of wearable and implantable electronic devices is growing rapidly. Implantable electronics enable a myriad of important applications in the medical world such as biosensing, neural probing, drug delivery, etc. However, one of the greatest challenges in such device development is to encapsulate the miniaturized electronics into a fully hermetic package. Excellent hermeticity is crucial since biofluids should not leach into the device causing electronic failure, while toxic components from the electronics should not diffuse into the body. Hermetic packages are traditionally realized by encapsulating an electronic implant in a large and rigid casing in titanium, stainless steel or a ceramic material. Unfortunately, these packages are rigid and enlarge the device volume considerably, causing a pronounced and unwanted body reaction. To solve these issues, the CMST (Centre for Microsystems Technology) research group investigates the development of a thin, flexible, biocompatible package which is fully hermetic. Initial promising results are obtained by combining polymer layers with ALD layers, in order to form an ultrathin flexible hermetic barrier. Current research showed that two very crucial aspects to obtain excellent hermeticity need a much better understanding and process improvement: the adhesion between all layers of the stack, and a well-controlled ALD nucleation ensuring correct thickness of the ultrathin (10-20 nm) ALD layer. These two aspects will be addressed in this PhD project. Since both aspects strongly depend on the underlying surface, plasma and chemical treatments will be studied and optimized to obtain excellent adhesion and ALD nucleation, essential for a high quality bidirectional barrier.

This vacancy is created in the context of a funded project from the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The project is a cooperation between two research groups of Ghent University: RUPT (Research Unit Plasma Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture) and CMST (Centre for Microsystems Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture). We offer you a job in a multidisciplinary field which embraces plasma technology, ALD deposition and flexible microelectronic packaging for medical implants. You will be guided and supported by experienced professors and highly skilled post-doc researchers in the above mentioned fields, and this in an international research environment. Direct access to a state-of-the-art clean room, a plasma technology lab and a polymer surface analyses lab is provided to execute your experimental work.

Profile of the candidate

We are looking for a candidate who meets following expectations:

• Master’s Degree in science or engineering in the field of physics, chemistry, materials sciences, electronics, or biomedical engineering.

• Excellent communication skills in English (spoken and written).

• The candidate should be interested in the theoretical aspects of this work, as well as in practical experimentation and clean room fabrication.

• The investigations performed by the candidate can result in obtaining a PhD in Engineering.

• Experience with experimental research in a lab and/or clean room is an advantage.

• Students in their final year of the above described master education programs can also apply.

How to apply

Please send your application, containing a motivation letter and your curriculum vitae, to Prof. Nathalie De Geyter (