Postdoc Fundamental Aspects of Friction and Wear with a Relevance to Positioning Challenges in Nano

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tuesday, 1 October 2019
End of advertisement period
Monday, 6 January 2020
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Closing date: 6 January 2020
Level of education: PhD
Hours: 38 hours per week
Salary indication: €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month

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

What are you going to do?

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 explore and exploit the nano- and mesoscale fundamentals of frictional dissipation to design interfaces with controllable friction. In virtually all sliding interfaces, a myriad of contacting asperities collectively carry the normal force and generate friction. But what is the nature of frictional energy dissipation at a single contact point? How does the macroscopic friction coefficient emerge from the collective behavior of many contact points? What happens if these contact points are in equilibrium with surrounding vapor? You will show that these ill-understood aspects of friction can each be used to create tunable friction. Within the project, you will be able to perform macroscopic friction experiments in controlled environments, lateral (and atomic) force microscopy as well as fluorescence microscopy and contact modeling (1-3).

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 one or more MSc and PhD students.


  1. B. Weber, T. Suhina, A. M. Brouwer and D. Bonn. Frictional weakening of slip interfaces. Sci. Adv. eaav7603 (2019).
  2. D. Petrova, B. Weber, C. Allain, P. Auderbert, D. Bonn and A. M. Brouwer. Fast 3D microscopy imaging of contacts between surfaces using a fluorescent liquid. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 10, 40973−40977 (2018).
  3. B. Weber, T. Suhina, T. Junge, L. Pastewka, A.M. Brouwer and D. Bonn. Molecular probes reveal deviations from Amontons’ law in multi-asperity frictional contacts. Nat. Commun. 9, 888 (2018).

What do we require?

You have a PhD in physics, or a related subject. You enjoy performing experiments and analysis to stepwise build a deeper understanding of complex physical mechanisms. You are good at communicating and explaining the results of your work. Experimental (and modeling) experience in the field of tribology would be advantageous.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, for the duration of 1 year (with possible extension). You will formally be appointed at the Institute of Physics of the University of Amsterdam, one of the founding ARCNL partners.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2.709 to €4.274 (scale 10) gross per month, based on fulltime (38 hours a week), exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 % end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.

ARCNL will compensate foreign researchers for their transport costs and furnishing expenses.


For more information contact:

  • Dr Bart Weber, Group leader Contact Dynamics
    T: +31 (0)20 8517100
  • Prof. Steve Franklin, Group leader Contact Dynamics
    T: +31 (0)6 1509 3396

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) and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Science Park Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and is currently building up towards a size of approximately 100 scientists and support staff.

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.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.

Please send your:

  • resume; 
  • motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page). 

Applications without this motivation will not be taken into account. However, with this motivation your application will receive our full attention.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

No agencies please