Post-doctoral Researcher

Scanning Probe Microscopy

Ref. 2021_050

We seek a talented and ambitious post-doctoral researcher interested in developing and applying a new kind of scanning probe microscope (SPM), which employs nanoscale quantum devices as sensitive probes of charge, electronic density, and magnetic fields.

Gated quantum dots (QDs), including gate and contact electrodes will be integrated at the tip of a cantilever especially customized for this purpose via a combination of optical, electron-beam (EBL), and thermal scanning probe lithography (t-SPL) developed at IBM Research Europe – Zurich [1]. We will focus on QDs based on a fin-type field-effect transistor layout [2], where the top of the fin is exposed for sensing. Such a QD at the tip of a scanning probe will be an extremely sensitive detector of charge, with an estimated sensitivity of 10-5 - 10-3 e Hz-1/2, with e the electron charge. The integration of this sensor on the tip of a cantilever probe will combine exquisite charge and electric field sensitivity with the sensitivity to topography of conventional atomic force microscopy. Finally, by operating the QDs as spin qubits, we plan to even further increase charge sensitivity, as well as enabling simultaneous magnetic field sensing. Ultimately, this may allow us to image the dynamics of charge fluctuators in semiconducting devices, which are a major challenge for high fidelity qubit operation.

Our vision is to enable a new era in SPM, in which nanometer-scale sensing devices – specifically quantum devices – can be directly patterned on-tip in order to enhance imaging sensitivity by orders of magnitude. To realize this vision, we will use the aforementioned lithography techniques together with the established wafer scale cantilever fabrication at IBM Research Europe – Zurich. The resulting imaging techniques will significantly surpass state-of-the-art SPM and help us to unravel poorly understood phenomena in physics, chemistry, and material science, which are impossible to address with today’s technology.

The IBM Research Laboratory in Rüschlikon and the Department of Physics at the University of Basel offer a stimulating and collaborative environment with internationally recognized research groups active in both experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics. The candidate will be employed at IBM in Zurich. The work will be conducted primarily at IBM for device fabrication and partially at the Department of Physics at the University of Basel for device characterization. This project is part of the EU FET-Open project: Focused Ion Beam Fabrication of Superconducing Scanning Probes (FIBsuperProbes).

Post-doctoral candidates with previous QD or low-temperature scanning probe microscopy are preferred. A Ph.D. in physics or a related field is required.



IBM is committed to diversity at the workplace. With us you will find an open, multicultural environment. Excellent flexible working arrangements enable all genders to strike the desired balance between their professional development and their personal lives.


How to apply

If you are interested in this exciting position, please submit your application below.


For more information, please contact
Dr. Armin Knoll ().



[1] D. Pires et al. Science. 328, 732–735 (2010)
[2] L. C. Camenzind et al. arXiv (2021)