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Physicist Stefan Witte awarded Vici grant

28 February 2022
Stefan Witte, a physicist at VU Amsterdam and ARCNL, has been awarded a Vici grant worth 1.5 million euros. This personal grant, awarded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), is intended for the development of an image sensor for better imaging of nanostructures using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation. This enables numerous applications within the semiconductor industry and materials science.

Microscopy with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation would enable many new applications in science and technology due to its unique combination of high resolution, penetration depth, and element-specific contrast on a wide variety of materials. Compact EUV microscopes based on high harmonic generation (HHG) sources are particularly promising for materials science. However, current EUV detectors are slow and not optimized for low-light applications.

In this Vici project, Witte and his team will introduce a new approach to EUV imaging, optimized for high-repetition-rate HHG sources. Together with industrial partners ASML and ASI, they will develop an image sensor that can detect single photons with a sensitivity that is only limited by the detector's quantum noise. This image sensor can even record data on rapidly moving samples. Through the project, fast HHG-based imaging of nanostructures will become possible.

Vici funding
Along with Veni and Vidi grants, Vici funding forms part of NWO’s Talent Programme. It is intended for highly experienced researchers who have successfully demonstrated an ability to develop their own innovative lines of research. The funding offers researchers an opportunity to build their own research groups, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship. A total of 12 scientists from the science domains Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES) and Health and Research Development (ZonMw) will receive Vici funding.

Image: Stefan Witte, ARCNL