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PhD position: Unravelling the fundamental puzzle of friction with application to industrial nanolithography

At the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) we carry out exciting fundamental physics at the highest possible level with relevance to key technologies in nanolithography. We contribute to the production of ever smarter and ...

10 maanden geleden


Van Vollenhovenlaan, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2834 per maand


At the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) we carry out exciting fundamental physics at the highest possible level with relevance to key technologies in nanolithography. We contribute to the production of ever smarter and smaller electronics, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of our fundamental insight into the workings of nature. The research field of tribology, devoted to contact formation, friction and wear phenomena down to the atomic scale, is of direct and pressing relevance to the manufacture of semiconductor devices. Friction-induced stresses and deformations on the scale of only a few atomic spacings are starting to challenge the future of nanolithography technology, limiting the achievable feature size in semiconductor chips. In this PhD project, you will use a combination of advanced and novel experimental techniques to unravel how contacts form between surfaces, how the contact conditions change over time, and how this contributes to variations in friction forces and wear. In addition to this program of refined experiments, we will pursue a variety of approaches to actively control the contact dynamics and the interfacial forces. More details can be found in the reference below. You will be embedded in the Contact Dynamics team at ARCNL but will also be closely associated with the University of Amsterdam and ASML, the world leading manufacturer of high tech lithography machines for chip making. 1 Suhina, T., Weber, B., Carpentier, C.E., Lorincz, K., Schall, P., Bonn, D., Brouwer, A.M. Fluorescence microscopy visualization of contacts between objects. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 54, 3688-3691 (2015).

The research activities of the Contact Dynamics group aim at investigating and providing fundamental understanding of the mechanisms underpinning friction, friction changes over time and friction variability, as affected by wear phenomena, at forces, scales and other preconditions relevant to present and future nanolithography technology. This includes the generation and dynamic behaviour of wear particles and their influence on the subsequent wear and friction, and the study of the mechanics of contacts at multi-asperity level.


You have an MSc in physics, or a related subject. You enjoy performing experiments to stepwise build a deeper understanding of complex physical mechanisms. You are good at communicating and explaining the results of your work. Knowledge in the field of tribology would be advantageous.


When fulfilling a PhD position at NWO-I, the Institutes Organisation of NWO, you will get the status of junior scientist.
You will have an employee status and can participate in all the employee benefits NWO-I offers. You will get a contract for four years. Your salary will be up to a maximum of 2,834 euro gross per month. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8 percent and an end-of-year bonus of 8.33 percent.
You are supposed to have a thesis finished at the end of your four year term with NWO-I.
A training programme is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. This plan also defines which teaching activities you will be responsible (up to a maximum of ten percent of your time). The conditions of employment of NWO-I are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (Cao-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English).
General information about working at NWO-I can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The 'Job interview code' applies to this position.

Additional information

Prof. Steve Franklin Group leader Contact Dynamics, Phone: +31 (0)6 1509 3396 Or: Dr. Bart Weber, Postdoctoral Researcher Contact Dynamics, Phone: +31 (0)20 851 7100


The Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) focuses on the fundamental physics involved in current and future key technologies in nanolithography, primarily for the semiconductor industry. ARCNL is a public-private partnership between the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the VU University Amsterdam (VU) and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Amsterdam Science Park, The Netherlands, and is currently building up towards a size of approximately 100 scientists and support staff. See also www.arcnl.nl