PhD-student: Nonlinear nanophotonic metasurfaces and materials for metrology

Date posted March 29, 2021
Type PhD positions

As a PhD student, you will develop the optics of nonlinear metasurfaces for wafer metrology.  You will build an instrument to generate and measure nonlinear optical signals from nanostructured dielectric resonant metasurfaces, and establish the utility for advanced metrology tools for future semiconductor technology.

The tremendous success of the semiconductor industry has become possible due to highly advanced optical nanolithography to define smaller and smaller nanostructures, hand in hand with quick and accurate optical metrology that guarantees that very tight tolerances are reached in terms of dimensions and in terms of relative alignment of consecutive device layers. For instance, a powerful current day wafer metrology technique measures diffraction patterns of dedicated nanostructured targets that are printed on wafers, and retrieves fine positional and dimensional information from diffraction pattern features.

In this work you will explore nonlinear metasurfaces. Metasurfaces are thin nanostructured layers with engineered resonances in their constituent dielectric or metallic nanoparticles to control amplitude and phase of transmitted and reflected wavefronts. At the state of the art, metasurfaces can encode complex holograms in their geometry. Nonlinear metasurfaces have also been recently reported that frequency-convert incident light, for instance by second harmonic generation.  Such frequency-converting metasurfaces have recently led to nonlinear holograms, indicating that the response of nonlinear metasurfaces can be tailored by geometry through optical interferences and engineering of near-field resonances and hot spots. You will work on metasurface designs and build a nonlinear Fourier microscope to answer the question how such nonlinear metasurface holograms can be used to retrieve metrologically relevant information about nanoscale geometries. The ultimate limits in this project will be to explore even atomically thin materials and geometries as the ultimate frontier of nanoelectronics, and to push the nonlinear emission from materials into the extreme ultraviolet range for achieving ultimate resolution and accuracy in metrology applications.

About the group

You will perform this project in the research group Resonant Nanophotonics at AMOLF and the team of Peter Kraus at ARCNL. The research will be done in close collaboration with ASML, and targets both academic and applied breakthroughs.

 About the group and institute

This is a collaborative project between the Resonant Nanophotonics group at AMOLF, headed by Prof. Dr. Femius Koenderink and the Metrology Department at ARCNL, in particular with Dr. Peter Kraus and Prof. Dr. Arie den Boef. The research activities in the Resonant Nanophotonics group at AMOLF aim at developing nanoscale photonic structures, such as plasmonics and metasurfaces, to control scattering, emission, amplification and detection of light. The group spans the entire research cycle from developing advanced nanophotonics concepts using state of the art theory and numerical design, to nanofabrication of designed structures in the Amsterdam NanoLab cleanroom at AMOLF,  and the development of state of the art optical scatterometry and microscopy methods. The ARCNL team is expert in nonlinear optics and high-harmonic generation, computational imaging and metrology. For this project, your lab work will be primarily stationed at AMOLF, as employee of the AMOLF-ARCNL joint research programme, you will work closely with the ARCNL team, as well as with expert industrial contacts from ASML. 

 AMOLF performs leading research on the fundamental physics and design principles of natural and man-made complex matter, with research in 4 interconnected themes: nanophotonics, nanophotovoltaics, designer matter, and biophysics. AMOLF leverages these insights to create novel functional materials, and to find solutions to societal challenges in renewable energy, green ICT, and health care. AMOLF is one of the NWO-I national research institutes located at the Amsterdam Science Park, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It has approximately 130 scientist and a total size of ca. 200 employees. Furthermore it hosts the Amsterdam NanolabNL clean room, which is part of the national NanoLabNL cleanroom network. See also

 ARCNL The Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) focuses on the fundamental physics and chemistry involved in current and future key technologies in nanolithography, primarily for the semiconductor industry. ARCNL is a public-private partnership between the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the VU University Amsterdam (VU) and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Amsterdam Science Park, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and is currently building up towards a size of approximately 100 scientists and support staff. See also


We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with an MSc or equivalent degree in physics or a strongly related field. A background in optics, nanophotonics, (coherent) imaging and/or ultrafast laser physics is a clear advantage. Affinity for performing optical experiments, solve mathematical problems and working as part of a team are considered important. Candidates should have experimental skills and be able to communicate in English. The project’s results will be presented at national and international conferences and in relevant journals. The successful candidate is expected to write a PhD thesis towards the end of the 4-year project, which will be defended at the University of Amsterdam. You will need to meet the requirements for an MSc-degree, to ensure eligibility for a Dutch PhD examination.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of four years, with a starting salary of € 2,441 and a range of employment benefits. After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted at the University of Amsterdam. Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students. AMOLF assists any new foreign PhD-student with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Prof.dr. A.F. Koenderink
Group leader Resonant Nanophotonics
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

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