Postdoc:Tribochemical wear with relevance to nanolithography

Work Activities

Are you interested in simultaneously unraveling the fundamentals of wear and contributing to the solution of friction-related challenges in computer chip production?

At the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography, we work with ASML on new processes to fabricate the electronic chips that power nearly every sector in the world. These chips are fabricated onto silicon wafers. During fabrication, nanometre scale relative displacements between the silicon wafer and the wafer positioner lead to unpredictable friction forces and wear which in turn cause in-plane deformations in the wafer, limiting the achievable feature size in chips.

While enormous progress has been made in fundamentally understanding wear, it remains striking that the most widely applied wear law (Archard’s law) is empirical and includes a proportionality constant that lacks a clear physical meaning but can vary over many orders of magnitude. Increasing evidence suggests that stiff and wear resistant materials, i.e. ceramics or diamond, undergo tribochemical, atomistic wear in which passivating species in the environment may play a crucial role. In this project, you will perform wear experiments on a recently developed instrument that enables customized wear experiments in controllable environment. The goal of the project is to provide insight into the industrially relevant wear behavior, leading to control over the wear behavior and its impact on positioning accuracy in nanolithography.


  • Candidates have a PhD degree in physics, or a related subject.
  • Candidates enjoy performing experiments and analysis to stepwise build a deeper understanding of complex physical mechanisms.
  • Candidates enjoy communicating and explaining the results of their work.
  • The ideal candidates have experience in using/developing instrumentation for mechanical/tribological testing.

Work environment

ARCNL performs fundamental research, focusing on the physics and chemistry involved in current and future key technologies in nanolithography, primarily for the semiconductor industry. While the academic setting and research style are geared towards establishing scientific excellence, the topics in ARCNL’s research program are intimately connected with the interests of the industrial partner ASML. The institute is located at Amsterdam Science Park and currently employs about 100 persons of which 65 are ambitious (young) researchers from all over the globe.

Working conditions

The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration two years, with a salary in scale 10 (CAO-OI) and a range of employment benefits. ARCNL assists any new foreign Postdoc with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

We also offer:

  • Opportunity to work with world-wide unique wear setups.
  • Stimulating international institute in vibrant city.
  • Opportunity to grow your experimental, analysis and communication skills through interaction with the other group members as well as academic and industrial collaborators.
  • Supportive supervision and guidance.

The Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) focuses on the fundamental physics and chemistry involved in current and future key technologies in nanolithography, primarily for the semiconductor industry. ARCNL is a public-private partnership between the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the VU University Amsterdam (VU), and associate partner the University of Groningen (RuG), and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Amsterdam Science Park, The Netherlands, and has a size of approximately 100 scientists and support staff. See also

You will be embedded in the Contact Dynamics team at ARCNL, which investigates friction and wear in relation to positioning challenges in the semiconductor industry.


1. L. Peng, C.-C. Hsu, C. Xiao, D. Bonn and B. Weber. Controlling Macroscopic Friction through Interfacial Siloxane Bonding. Phys. Rev. Lett. 131 226201 (2023).

2. F.-C. Hsia, S. Franklin, P. Audebert, A. M. Brouwer, D. Bonn and B. Weber. Rougher is more slippery: How adhesive friction decreases with increasing surface roughness due to the suppression of capillary adhesion. Phys. Rev. Res. 3, 043204 (2021).

3. F.-C. Hsia, F. M. Elam, D. Bonn, B. Weber and S. E. Franklin. Wear particle dynamics drive the difference between repeated and non-repeated reciprocated sliding. Tribol. Int. 142, 105983 (2020).

4. C. Leriche, C. Xiao, S. Franklin and B. Weber. From atomic attrition to mild wear at multi-asperity interfaces: The wear of hard Si3N4 repeatedly contacted against soft Si. Wear 528, 204975 (2023).

More information?

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


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Diversity code

ARCNL is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment: we want to develop talent and creativity by bringing together people from different backgrounds and cultures. We recruit and select on the basis of competencies and talents. We strongly encourage anyone with the right qualifications to apply for the vacancy, regardless of age, gender, origin, sexual orientation or physical ability.

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