Research Associate/Fellow (Natural Sciences and Science Education Academic Group) [NGF-2017-01-014]

  • The National Institute of Education invites suitable applications for the position of Research Associate/Fellow on a 12-month contract at the Natural Sciences and Science Education Academic Group.

    Project Title: High energy density pulsed plasma based alternate carbon overcoat deposition technology to push hard disk drives storage density beyond 4 Tb/in2

    Project Introduction:

    The goal of the hard disk drive (HDD) industry is to advance the areal density towards/beyond 4 Tb/in2. This will require the reduction of head-media spacing (HMS; the spacing between magnetic layers of read/write head and magnetic media) to 3.7 nm. Future HMS will include a flying clearance of ~0.7 nm, lubricant thickness of 1 nm and protective carbon overcoat (COC) of 1 nm each on both the head and the media. The HDD industry, for long, used magnetron sputtering for COCs deposition. Presently, the HDD industry uses plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) to deposit 2-2.5 nm thin hydrogenated carbon (CHx) overcoats. However, at sub-2 nm thickness the protective characteristics of CHx-based COCs start to deteriorate and they also become thermally unstable in heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) conditions (future HDD technology).

    Therefore, alternative technologies, such as filtered-cathodic vacuum arc (FCVA), are being explored for COCs deposition particularly because they are able to synthesize thermally stable COCs with high sp3 content. However, FCVA faces two key problems of particles generation and low deposition rates making then unsuitable for COCs deposition. Alternate COC deposition technologies are thus highly desirable.  We propose to develop high energy density pulsed plasma (HEDPP) device based technology; to achieve intended industry relevant ~1 nm, large area (65 mm diameter), highly uniform (<3% non-uniformity) and with >30% sp3 content COC deposition.

    Singapore is a major player in HDD media manufacturing. Almost half-of-world’s HDD media are manufactured in Singapore. The HEDPP-LVSFM-DPF device based alternate COCs deposition technology is expected to be a major breakthrough to bring the head-media spacing and hence meeting the requirements for high areal density. 

  • Essential 

    • A relevant PhD or Master’s degree in Physics, Applied Physics or Electrical/Electronic Engineering
    • Experience in researching/working on maintaining and operating pulsed plasma systems
    • Work experience on pulsed power technology, vacuum systems and electrical engineering
    • Trained on various plasma diagnostics
    • Experience in material science will be additionally beneficial for the project
    • Very good experimental and hands on skill
    • Experience in plasma system integration and designing will be useful
    • Good written and verbal communication skills with evidence of proven writing skills


    • Good knowledge of lab safety issues in a plasma lab
    • Good organizational skills, able to work within given deadlines with an eye for details
    • Able to work independently with minimum supervision
    • Assist to design a new plasma system under guided supervision
    • Develop, maintain, operate and calibrate plasma devices 
    • Setup and handle the trigger electronics part of pulsed plasma device which will require experience in pulsed power system handling
    • Setup and perform various plasma diagnostics to understand material synthesis process
    • Conduct experiments on synthesis of carbon materials such graphene and/or CNT using plasma system
    • Characterize the synthesized and processed materials using characterization techniques; 
    • Maintain the lab in an orderly manner
    • Assist in procurement of items for experiments
    • Other tasks as assigned by the Principal Investigator
  • Applicants should complete and submit the following item/s:

    • Application form for Research Positions
    • Cover letter explaining how you meet the requirements of this position
    • Supporting documents as stated on the job application form
    • Other documents to support your qualifications

    Please send your application to:
    Associate Professor Rajdeep Singh Rawat
    Principal Investigator
    Natural Sciences and Science Education Academic Group
    National Institute of Education
    1 Nanyang Walk
    Singapore 637616
    Tel: (65) 67903908

    **We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be notified**

  • 2 June 2017
  • NIE staff can take chartered buses at their own expense from or near their homes to the NIE campus. This is subject to availability of seats.