PhD: Nanowear - does diamond last forever?

PhD: Nanowear - does diamond last forever?

Published Deadline Location
17 Oct 4 Mar Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you interested in simultaneously unraveling the fundamentals of wear and contributing to the solution to wear-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.

Despite its supreme hardness, (synthetic) diamond also wears and diamond wear can limit the lifetime of the coating or influence its performance. Wear of diamond can take place through various mechanisms including mechanically stimulated chemical reaction of diamond with oxides followed by mechanical removal of the reaction products. The goal of this PhD project will be to provide fundamental understanding of the mechanisms by which diamond multi-contacts wear and how these mechanisms can be manipulated.

What do we 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




Candidates have a MSc 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.

Experience in atomic force microscopy and in using/developing instrumentation for mechanical/tribological testing is advantageous.

Conditions 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 four years, with a starting salary of gross € 2,720 per month and a range of employment benefits. After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted. Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students. ARCNL assists any new foreign PhD-student with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.


Contact Dynamics

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

This PhD position is part of the ERC StG project CHIPFRICTION: Chip production without friction. 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.

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 and encourages candidates from underrepresented groups to apply.


  1. C. Leriche, C. Xiao, S. Franklin, 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).
  2. C. Leriche, S. Franklin, B. Weber. Measuring multi-asperity wear with nanoscale precision. Wear 498, 204284 (2022).
  3. 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).


  • PhD
  • 1215130


Science Park 106, 1098 XG, Amsterdam

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