Openings at ECTM

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Fundamentals of backside metals system for 5G RF power modules

Opening for: PhD student

Status details

Announced:04 May 2020
Closing date:25 May 2020

The Backside Metals System (BMS) is a stacked metal multilayer in the backside of RF power chip, with the functions of chip attachment and electrical conductivity. However, BMS has a lot of fundamental reliability problems with several mixed failure mechanisms due to multiple material combinations, multiple interfaces, multiscale and multiple loadings, as shown in Figure 1. These problems can’t be solved in an empirical way by the trial-and-error method, which is highly time- and cost- consuming. As BMS is key for a robust and highly reliable RF power module which is the bottleneck of 5G communication systems, a thorough understanding of the failure mechanisms is imperative so that a physics-driven-design method is possible to accelerate the development of our RF modules.


  • Investigate the fundamental failure mechanisms of backside metals system
  • Predict the diffusion behaviour of the backside metals system
  • Optimize the designs and processes of the backside metals system


  • Failure mechanism investigations and reliability testing of backside metals system on currently used devices
  • Modelling of the backside metals system’s behaviors by using multi-scale and Multiphysics simulation tools


  • Multiphysics/scale simulation/methodology for backside metals system
  • Designing rule, prototyping and testing of the backside metals system on RF devices


  • BSC & MSC in Materials Science and Engineering, preferably in Metallurgy, Solid Mechanics, etc.
  • Experience of fundamental research on metal and alloys is a plus.
  • Familiar with simulation tools (molecular dynamics, finite element) is a plus.
  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills.
  • Fluent English.


prof.dr. GuoQi Zhang


Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Additional information

In The Netherlands, almost all PhD positions are linked to funded research projects. This has several implications:
  • PhD students are employed: they receive a salary rather than a grant. Most projects have a duration of 4 years.
  • Positions become available once a project is funded. This can happen at any time during the year.
  • It typically takes 6 to 9 months for a project proposal to receive funding. In this period, a position may be anticipated but the outcome remains insecure. Once a project is funded, the open position needs to be filled as soon as possible.

If you are interested in our research, it merits to inquire whether openings will be available. We collect resumes of prospective PhD students throughout the year, for each of our research tracks.

General requirements

We make our selection based on the following general requirements:
  • Formal requirements regarding prior education: you should have earned an MSc degree at a recognized institute for higher education.
  • Background: this depends on the specific project.
  • Excellence: your Grade-Point-Average should be above 8 (10). Also your MSc thesis should have received a grade above 8 (10).
  • English: you should be able to communicate well in english (written and oral). Provide TOEFL/IELTS scores if available.
  • Originality: your MSc thesis or later work (publications) should reflect some original ideas. Critical and independent thinking is very important.
  • Team player: you should be able to work well in a team of other project members.
Your resume should contain contact information of prior advisors/supervisors who can provide feedback.