Internship: How does the surface topography of very hard carbon-based films affect friction?

Date posted October 12, 2021
Type Scientific internships

In this project, you will use advanced and novel experimental techniques to unravel the effects of the surface topography of hard carbon-based films on their tribological behaviour under different conditions.

Are you interested in elucidating and understanding how to control the effects on friction of the surface topography of hard carbon-based films, and at the same time contributing to the solving of friction-related challenges in computer chip production?

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 challenging the future of nanolithography technology, limiting the achievable feature size in semiconductor chips. Surface topography, and the physics and chemistry of the materials involved, play essential roles.

In this project, you will use a combination of advanced surface analysis and novel experimental techniques to prepare and characterise the surfaces of very hard carbon-based films that have been deposited on test samples. You will then assist in research into the effect of their topographical characteristics on the tribological behaviour when rubbing against silicon wafers under different conditions.

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.

About the group

At the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) we carry out exciting physics and materials science 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 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 physics, materials science and chemistry of surfaces, and the study of the mechanics of contacts at multi-asperity level.


You have or will soon have a Bachelor’s degree in physics, materials science & engineering, or a related field and (will) participate in a Master study. The internship must be a mandatory part of your curriculum. You have the nationality of an EU-member state and/or you are a student at a Netherlands University. Please note: as from 01-01-2021 the UK is no longer an EU-member state. You must be available for at least 5 months.

Terms of employment

At the start of the traineeship your trainee plan will be set out, in consultation with your ARCNL supervisor including a small allowance.

Contact info

Prof. Steve Franklin
Co-Group leader Contact Dynamics
Phone: +31 (0)6 374 60065


Dr. Bart Weber
Co-Group leader Contact Dynamics
Phone: +31 20 8517100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please annex your:
–  Resume;

–  List of followed courses plus grades.
Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

Commercial activities in response to this ad are not appreciated.