PD: The role of water in the adhesion and friction at interfaces with a relevance to positioning challenges in nanolithography

Updated: 2 months ago

Are you interested in simultaneously unraveling the fundamentals of friction and contributing to the solution 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 starting to challenge the future of nanolithography technology, limiting the achievable feature size in semiconductor chips.

In this project, you will use atomic force microscopy to investigate the nanoscale dynamics and mechanics of water and its impact on the adhesion and friction of interfaces with industrial relevance.

You will be embedded in the Contact Dynamics team at ARCNL but will also be closely associated with the tribology teams at the University of Amsterdam and at ASML, the world leading manufacturer of high tech lithography machines for chip making. You will have the opportunity to coach and co-supervise MSc students.


  • F.-C. Hsia, C. C. Hsu, L. Peng, F. M. Elam, C. Xiao, S. Franklin, D. Bonn, B Weber. Contribution of Capillary Adhesion to Friction at Macroscopic Solid–Solid Interfaces. Phys. Rev. Appl.17 034034 (2022).
  • F.-C. Hsia, S. Franklin, P. Audebert, A. M. Brouwer, D. Bonn, 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).
  • F.-C. Hsia, F. M. Elam, D. Bonn, B. Weber, S. E. Franklin. Wear particle dynamics drive the difference between repeated and non-repeated reciprocated sliding. Tribol. Int.142, 105983 (2020).
  • L. Peng, F.-C. Hsia, S. Woutersen, M. Bonn, B. Weber and D. Bonn. Nonmonotonic friction due to water capillary adhesion and hydrogen bonding at multiasperity interfaces. Phys. Rev. Lett.129, 256101 (2022).

  • About the group

    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), Groningen University (RUG) and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Science Park Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and has a size of approximately 100 scientists and support staff. See also www.arcnl.nl

    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 rough surface contact mechanics, adhesion, tribochemical wear, thin film lubrication and novel coatings.  

    ARCNL is an international institute with strong cohesion within and across the research groups. Working from home on fixed or varying days is possible. ARCNL is committed to gender equality and diversity.


    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 experimental experience with atomic force microscopy or a related technique.

    Terms of employment

    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 of two years with possible extension, 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.

    Contact info

    dr. Bart Weber
    Group leader Contact Dynamics
    E-mail: b.weber@arcnl.nl
    Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

    You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
    Please annex your:
    –  Resume;
    –  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).
    It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. This means that we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.

    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.

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