Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ivory Filter Flask: 11/20/12 edition

Good morning! Between November 13 and November 19, there were 30 new academic positions posted on the C&EN Jobs website. The numbers:

Total number of ads: 30
- Postdocs: 3
- Tenure-track faculty:  20
- Temporary faculty: 1
- Lecturer positions:  1
- Staff positions:  5
- US/non-US: 27/3

La Jolla, CA: UCSD's Laboratory for Bioresponsive Materials wishes to hire a synthetic chemist as a postdoctoral fellow.

Why are you here, exactly?: One of the weirdest things about ACS Careers C&EN Jobs is the misplacement of all sorts of ads. You really can tell that institutions are just spamming ads out there, with no hope of an actual return. (I'm developing opinions about recruiting, which is maybe a sign that I've been at this too long.) So it's with that comment that I note that Harvard University is searching for an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in the august pages of C&EN Jobs. Perhaps it has something to do with the desired subfield?
We are particularly interested in: 1) emerging and/or ‘beyond-CMOS’ devices (including, but not limited to, nanoscale, molecular, low-dimensional, and quantum-effect devices); 2) all aspects of CMOS integrated circuits and systems design; and 3) emerging applications, including, but not limited to, bio/medical-technology (e.g., implantable systems, imaging, neuronal interfaces, biomolecular sensing and analysis), terahertz technology, and optoelectronics. 
I guess there's chemistry buried in there somewhere.

Chicago, IL: UIC is looking for a B.S./M.S. synthetic chemist for work in a tuberculosis therapy program. Is this a temp position?

Shanghai, China: NYU Shanghai (yes, you read that right) is looking for non-tenure-track instructors of science (probably chemistry in there) for a one year term in Shanghai. You know what? As hokey as this seems, this is probably a good opportunity for someone.

Mahwah, NJ: Ramapo College is looking for an assistant professor of analytical chemistry; Ph.D. desired.


  1. Sure, it may look like Electrical Engineering to us, but if there's one thing we've learned from the august Nobel committee, it's that: if it exists, it's made of chemicals!

  2. these irrelevant ads are placed by some unmotivated HR staff who do not know the difference between steroids and asteroids

  3. Modern CMOS manufacturing is all chemistry. Etching is acid/base/chelation. Much of litho is resists, ie polymer chem - Xlinking or removing thereof. Deposition is almost all CVD (metalorganics etc). Some of the stuff from the Gordon group at CCB got into
    Aldrich's catalog before it got into the various PhD thesises. Add in the Park and Leiber groups for next generation device structures and Harvard Chem is more important in semiconductors than pharmaceuticals. A large number of 'Process engineers' in the fabs are PhD chemists.

    But noone at Intel cares about chirality so the org side of fence pretends none of this exists.

    1. Well, anon, thanks for your informative comments. Sorry to disappoint you.

    2. I am perhaps too harsh, but it not intended to be taken as a personal attack on the blog-owner. How dare he freely provide something I enjoy reading and at no benefit to himself etc, etc...

      I am also not opposed to the balkanisation of chemistry per se, I did not go to grad school to hold hands and sing kumbayah, but the pervading belief among organic chemists in general wrt the non-existance of the 90% of chemical industries which are not pharmaceuticals is somewhat tiring. Everyone looks down on analytical chemistry but they are probably 3/4 of all employed chemists. After all, every toothpaste factory in the land needs some to mind the GCs.

      But as to the subject at hand, with the complete transition to microelectronics, EE dep'ts are starting pick up people that would have been considered applied physics or materials/physical chemistry. Is a man studying the plasma chemistry of semiconductor growth a chemist or an EE? It depends on which faculty is hiring him in the end.

      A standard powerpoint slide in the industry goes:

      "From the dawn of integrated circuits till 10 years ago, this is what we used"; points to periodic table with Si, P, B, O & Al highlighted.
      "Either today or within 5 years, this is what we will use"; points to periodic table with half of the elements highlighted.

      Semiconductors are getting harder to make (at the cutting edge) and alot of the complexity is chemical.

    3. Interesting; i always thought semiconductors would move toward one element--diamond being almost perfect.

      My smallish grad school department was more divided between bio-tilting organic and materials-oriented organic + inorganic, so i tend to think of this as the division of the future.

    4. Of the Si wafer (which diamond is suggested as a replacement) 99% of it is just there for mechanical strength. The devices are within 1 micron of the surface. This has to be made sort-of conductive so the transistor can switch on/off, so you need a pair of complementary dopants (B & P or As in the case of silicon). Then totally insulating regions are needed to separate these, classically SiO2. But device sizes are too small for SiO2 to prevent current leakage in some locations so a physically thicker but electrically similar material is used - the high-K, typically HfO2. But that doesn't work with the doped Si that was the old electrical connection so metals like W or TiN come in.

      The Al that was the internal wiring inside the chip was replaced years ago with Cu for lower resistivity, but Cu diffuses rapidly through Si so barrier layers are needed. And adhesion layers so everything doesn't peel off while being ground smooth during CMP. And special low-dielectric insulators to reduce RC delays in the signals.

      Current R&D focus is on replacing Si in the active channel with Ge (which already alloyed with Si in some devices) or the III-V of your choice. These all have different materials that diffuse into them or react with them. They also have electrically poor interfaces with the standard dielectrics, so those will also have to be changed.

      All of these have different thermal budgets to mind as well, this bit has to hit 1000C but that bit mustn't go over 400C so it goes on afterwards, but maybe adding a bit of this will allow 500C etc.

      This is how the fabs go so complicated over the last decade, and that will not change with diamond substrates. Innovations have to be better than current state of the art (which is high) and not just different, so the industry will not revert to simpler devices just because they are now on diamond (or graphene or MoS2 etc).

      Hope that helped

  4. as an addendum, the most famous chemist in the world is Dr. Moore (of the eponymous Law) and he certainly didn't do any natural products synthesis.