MSc thesis project proposal

Patterning nanoparticles by using lift-off techniques or masking

Nanoparticles have many unique properties that can be very different from their bulk counterpart. Incorporating nanoparticles into MEMS devices or other microdevices or processes is challenging. They are sensitive to oxygen, hard to pattern reliably and synthesis is often hard to control or lengthy.

A new tool inside the EKL cleanroom in Delft is the VSParticle nanoparticle printer and overcomes some of these problems. With this tool, it is possible to direct write a pattern of nanoparticles by “shooting” them at a surface. It is a clean and scalable method to produce extremely porous deposits of noble metal or metal-oxide nanoparticles that uses no chemicals. Particles are created by spark ablation and form inside a gas phase, creating an aerosol of 3-20 nm diameter particles which is carried away in the gas phase to be deposited or analysed. The feature size of this tool is limited by the diffusive nature of particles in a gas, resulting in low aspect ratios and poor control over deposition when writing small features <50µm.

Making devices with this tool requires better control of feature size and morphology. Lift-off could be one a pathway to overcome this limitation and produce smaller, more well-defined structures of nanoporous materials. Other pathways should be explored too, like using masks. The goal of this project is to develop a method to pattern nanoparticle deposits and if possible incorporate in a microfabrication process. You will produce and analyse your own samples using the EKL microfabrication facilities. This means should be able to work independently and critically evaluate your results. Student should be fluent in English, have a professional attitude and a background in microelectronics, material science or nanotechnology.


MSc Students with a background in microelectronics, material science or nanotechnology looking for hands-on experience in nanomaterial science and microfabrication.


MSc Joost van Ginkel

Electronic Components, Technology and Materials Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2021-03-30