Nuno Casa Branca: PhD at RWTH Aachen University, Germany


Metaplasticity of redox-based memristive thin film devices


Prof. Dr. Regina Dittmann


Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Chicca (University of Bielefeld, Germany)

Non-academic Supervisor:

Dr. Cas Damen (Twente Solid State Technology B.V., The Netherlands)

Metaplasticity of redox-based memristive thin film devices

This project aims to engineer the synaptic plasticity of epitaxial and polycrystalline memristive oxide thin film devices from short-term plasticity to long-term potentiation. This so called metaplasticity inherent to biological systems will be employed to implement different types of learning algorithms. The plasticity will be modified by the interplay of thin film processing conditions (defects, interfaces) and the sequence of electrical stimuli. It should clarify the interplay between pristine microstructure, filament formation, dynamics of oxygen vacancy movement and synaptic plasticity. The PhD work will contain thin film growth by PLD, electrical testing over a high dynamic range, conductive-tip AFM and in operandomicrospectroscopy (PEEM) to monitor filament formation. The main part of the research will be performed at PGI-7 of Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. Additionally, the ESR will spend the secondments at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, University of Groningen, the Netherlands to develop algorithms for PEEM image analysis (0.5 month), at the University of Bielefeld, Germanyfor the exchange about device properties and circuit design (1 month) and at the University of Twente, the Netherlands (1 month) and Twente Solid State Technologies, the Netherlands (1 month) for the growth of heterostructures by PLD and the growth on Si, respectively.

Forschungszentrum Jülich, member of the Helmholtz society, is one of the largest European research centres. It partners with the RWTH Aachen University via the Jülich-Aachen research alliance JARA, in particular JARA-FIT in the area of future information technology. RWTH Aachen University ranks among the eleven German universities, which were recently successfully approved for funding for a period of at least seven years in the German Universities of Excellence funding line.

Institute of Electronic Material (PGI-7), directed by Prof. Rainer Waser belongs to the international leading groups in the field of ferroelectric and resistive switching oxides. PGI-7 has a broad activity on different resistive switching materials, such as binary and complex oxides, higher chalgogenides, and organic materials. These activities are embedded in the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 917 ( and are interlinked with projects directly funded by semiconductor industry.

Additional information for applicants

  • We look for a candidate with a master degree in Physics, Materials Science and/or Chemistry, or a combination thereof.
  • Local application requirements apply. Information on employment as a PhD student at Forschungszentrum Jülich can be found their website.

For more details on the project, contact