PhD Candidate within Nonvolatile Edge Computing with Ferroelectric Transistors

Trondheim, Norway
02 Dec 2021
End of advertisement period
31 Jan 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

At the Department of Electronic Systems (IES) we have a vacancy for a PhD candidate within the area of Digital Integrated Circuits and Semiconductor Devices for the Internet-of-Things. 

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. 

Exciting new areas of computing such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet-of-Things require storage and processing of huge amounts of data. Data-centric applications and computers will be needed to support these new technologies. Future computing devices will have to move beyond the classical von Neuman architecture that suffers from an intrinsic memory-logic barrier. For future data-centric applications, the computations and storage of data need to be fused into the same device architecture. Internet-of-Things is expected to incorporate trillions of devices that are seamlessly integrated into every aspect of life to collect, store, process, and share data in real time. Most of these real time computations will have to occur locally at the edge where the data are produced and collected. The importance of Artificial Intelligence is expected to increase in parallel as real-time decision making will be an essential property of these future smart edge computing systems. 

Most devices for edge intelligence will be powered by unreliable energy sources. Edge computers will be either powered by battery or designed to harvest energy from the scarce resources that are intermittently available in the environment. Energy efficiency will be therefore a critical requirement for the Internet-of-Things and edge computing. For maximum energy efficiency, an edge intelligence system should be normally off and be activated only when needed. This kind of event-driven operation that mimics the human brain, however, is not feasible in conventional computer systems where memory elements (random-access memory cells, latches, and flip-flops) are volatile. For normally-off and event-driven computing, nonvolatile memory elements that can permanently store internal states must be embedded in a processor. Nonvolatile computing will be particularly critical at the edge of the Internet-of-Things where the availability of power supply will be typically unpredictable and sporadic.

Ferroelectric Field-Effect Transistor (FeFET) is a 3-terminal device that can act as both a nonvolatile memory element and a logic switch. By merging these dual logic and memory characteristics into a single device, FeFETs are very attractive to realize the future nonvolatile computers that will be employed for the Internet-of-Things. The programmable multi-threshold voltage characteristics of FeFETs via controlled polarization of the ferroelectric material in the gate stack makes these devices particularly attractive for the implementation of ultra-dense memory circuits for future data-centric applications and edge intelligence. Negative capacitance field-effect transistor is a type of FeFET that may pave the way for ultra-low voltage and high-performance computing with the scattered and occasional energy sources at the edge. The objective of this PhD project is to develop new hybrid silicon-ferroelectric transistor memory technologies to achieve zero standby power, enhanced reliability, and energy-efficiency in future event-driven edge computing systems that will form the fabric of the Internet-of-Things.

We are looking for PhD candidates from all nationalities, who want to contribute to our quest to create knowledge for future nonvolatile computers and the Internet-of-Things. 
We believe in fair and open processes. All applications will be considered through a transparent evaluation procedure, with independent observers involved.

The position's working place is NTNU campus in Trondheim.

You will report to Head of Department.
We look forward to welcome you to NTNU and Trondheim.

Duties of the position

  • conducting high quality research and report progress on a regular basis and in agreement with the project supervisor.
  • undertaking the necessary courses (30 ECTS) as part of the PhD programme. 
  • submitting an application for admission and a research plan to develop Nonvolatile Memory Circuits with Ferroelectric Transistors for Edge Computing (with specific ideas applicable to static random-access memory circuits, content-addressable memories, latches, and flip-flops based on hybrid integration of silicon and ferroelectric devices) no later than 3 months after the employment.

Required selection criteria

  • Education requirements: 5 years of higher education (BSc and MSc) or education equal to (300 ECTS) in Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, or Computer Engineering. Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program where 120 credits are obtained at master's level. The grade requirements are B or higher (based on NTNU’s grading scale). Education will have to be documented by diploma supplement or equivalent documentation in English and include a description of the educational system. International Relations do require Chinese diplomas to be verified using CHSI. The NTNU Office of International Relations will evaluate degrees and diplomas.
  • Language skill requirements: The applicants will be asked to provide evidence of excellent English language skills, both written and spoken. The following certificates may be used as such evidence: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

We prefer candidates who have:

  • experience with custom digital integrated circuit design, physical design, and layout with computer-aided design tools such as CADENCE.
  • 3D semiconductor device design experience with technology computer-aided design tools such as Silvaco TCAD Omni, Victory Omni 3D, and Clever.
  • very good understanding of the physics and operation of nanoscale 3D semiconductor devices. 
  • strong background in computer architecture, computer organization, and design.

Personal characteristics

  • excellent communication skills: communicates information with great clarity and ease, both spoken and in writing
  • learns from experience and feedback from others
  • sees the big picture and takes broader considerations into account
  • acquires new knowledge quickly and can use existing knowledge in new ways
  • ability to work independently but also in a team
  • driven by curiosity and ambition to seek new knowledge
  • able to produce new ideas and solutions to address the current challenges in computer industry and to advance the computer technology

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 per annum, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years (1 year teaching duties will be added if possible depending on the candidate). 

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Information and Communication Technology ( within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is funded by NTNU.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include (Departments to choose from the following): 

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Project proposal (minimum two pages) considering the project topic: Nonvolatile Memory Circuits with Ferroelectric Transistors for Edge Computing. This project proposal will evolve into a detailed research plan within 3 months of the employment.
  • Name and address of three referees
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Volkan Kursun, telephone +47 7359 1768, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Senior Executive Officer Signe Talukder, telephone +47 7350 0746, email

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. 

Application deadline: January 31, 2022

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Electronic Systems

The digitalization of Norway is impossible without electronic systems. We are Norway’s leading academic environment in this field, and contribute with our expertise in areas ranging from nanoelectronics, phototonics, signal processing, radio technology and acoustics to satellite technology and autonomous systems. Knowledge of electronic systems is also vital for addressing important challenges in transport, energy, the environment, and health. The Department of Electronic Systems is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering .

Deadline 31st January 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service NTNU Campus Gløshaugen

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