PhD position in project on High-resolution deposition of high viscosity materials using laser induced forward transfer (HiLIFT)

At tno, Integration Technologies for Flexible Systems

The position

3D printing is becoming a mainstream manufacturing technology. Highly accurate, fast and large area deposition processes for functional materials such as metals, transparent conductors, insulators and semiconductors in a patterned manner are in high demand. Traditional approaches such as vacuum deposition, inkjet and screen printing technologies all have their own merits, however also have specific drawbacks in terms of processing conditions, maximum resolution, achievable layer thickness, materials performance and processing speed. Exposure of a (highly) viscous metal ink to intense, short light pulses generated from a focused laser spot has been introduced as promising alternative printing technology. Exposure of a wet film to an intense laser pulse is used to selectively ablate a section of the coating at the exposed area, and propel the material from the film to a receiver substrate by the thermal stresses induced by the same laser pulse. In this manner, metals, polymers, liquids, and pastes have already been printed. However, for pastes and "complex" liquids, for which the viscosity depends on the shear rate, undesired deposition of multiple droplets, off-angle ejection, and splashing are commonly observed. These phenomena are usually detrimental for the printed structure, and it is not fully understood how process parameters influence the LIFT process. Therefore, in this project, we aim to develop a deeper understanding of LIFT by combining experimental investigations of the transfer process with advanced modeling. We aim to design controlled material/process combinations for successful printing of new materials and to demonstrate printing of conductive circuits in 3D.


In this project the Physics of Fluids group (headed by prof.dr. Lohse) of the renown MESA+ institute and the Chair of Applied Laser Technology (headed by Römer) of the Faculty of Engineering Technology, both at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, collaborate with industrial partners, including Holst Centre in Eindhoven, The Netherlands – a leading R&D institute in the area of printed and flexible electronics.


Your Responsibilities

The PhD candidate will jointly address these challenges, as part of a team, including senior & junior researchers from the Physics of Fluids group, the Chair of Applied Laser Technology and the Holst Centre, who are experts in the fields of expertise required to tackle these multi-disciplinary challenges. Outcomes of the project will be experimental results, models, applications and scientific publications.


The PhD-candidate, hosted by the Chair of Applied Laser Technology and full-time stationed at the Holst Centre (in Eindhoven), will be addressing – and will be responsible for:


  • design and implementation of an (improved)
  • experimental LIFT setup,experimental determination of a processing window (covering all relevant parameters) aiming at "clean" LIFT of viscous liquids & of suspensions containing high concentrations of solids,
  • investigation of jetting dynamics and mechanism using existing (or to be improved) ultrafast shadowgraphy imaging system, 
  •  develop methods, tools and devices for upscaling the technology to industrial throughput levels.


Your Profile

  • You have a Master's degree, preferably with distinction (or international equivalent) in Applied Physics, Photonics,  Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Chemical Engineering or a closely related discipline;
  • Good knowledge/demonstrated awareness of fundamental aspects of laser-material processing and applied knowledge in laser micromachining are desirable, particularly in relation to short/ultra-short pulsed laser-material interactions. Experience in using a range of technologies/techniques for surface characterization, e.g. sample preparation techniques, SEM, EDX, AFM, Raman spectroscopy, FV, optical microscopy, etc., would be an advantage.
    Ability to work in a laboratory environment and undertake experimental research.
  • Excellent analysis skills and an analytical mind-set, as well as excellent communication skills, including written.
  • An ability to work independently and as a member of a research team.
  • Ability to review and engage with interdisciplinary studies. English language proficiency. If you have not graduated in a country where
  • English is the first language then you will need to demonstrate your English proficiency by having passed IELTS or TOEFL. The minimum overall score for IELTS is at least 6.5 with no component being below 5.5.



For all inquiries, please contact:

For more information about this vacancy you can contact Gari Arutinov, Tel: +31 (0) 40 40 20 621, email:,. You can learn more about the Holst Centre by pointing your web browser to, and information about the Chair of Applied Laser Technology is available at:


Please send your application, with a curriculum vitae, a motivation letter, a transcript (list with grades of courses attended), references and, if applicable, a list of publications to Gari Arutinov before November 4, 2016.


Our Offer:


We offer a very challenging position in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. As a PhD candidate you will be offered a full-time position for four years, after which you should have completed your PhD thesis. . The gross monthly salary starts with € 2.174 in the first year and increases to € 2.779 in the fourth year of your employment. Additionally, Holst Centre and the University of Twente provide excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%), an end of year bonus of 8.3%. A high-quality training program is part of the agreement. The research has to result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period. The position is available immediately.