PhD in Nanoscale Chemistry and Tribology

PhD in Nanoscale Chemistry and Tribology

Published Deadline Location
26 Sep 17 Oct Wageningen

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Job description

Are you a highly driven and an extremely curious person loving interdisciplinary Science? Do you have an MSc degree in Physics or Chemistry with focus on Materials Science? That makes a match!

We are looking for a PhD student with great interest in applied physics, chemistry and in pushing the boundaries and capabilities of modern microscopy, nanoscale chemical imaging and spectroscopy to study tribological contacts in lithography systems necessary for semiconductors industry. The PhD project will be undertaken in collaboration with ASML, an innovation leader in the semiconductor industry and providing chipmakers with hardware, software, and services to mass produce patterns on silicon through lithography.

Your work will contribute to realize the next generation of lithography systems in semiconductors industry. It is increasingly important to achieve high accuracy of wafers’ position on their supporting structures. At its core, this phenomenon is determined by the strength and stability of single-asperity interactions between the wafer and support. It is, therefore, important to understand both tribological and chemical properties of single-asperity contacts.

Your duties and responsibilities include:
  • developing nano-chemical imaging and spectroscopy to resolve chemical changes originating from tribological wear at the nanoscale;
  • characterise tribological and chemical behaviour of the top layers of realistic coating materials in lithography systems;
  • employ AI, chemometrics and machine learning to process a large amount of nano-data, allowing patterns recognition and prediction.

You will work here
The research will be embedded within the chairs Organic (ORC) and Physical Chemistry (PCC). You will be member of the Nanoscale Imaging and Spectroscopy team, which is led by dr Francesco Simone Ruggeri and work in close collaboration with Bart Stel and Stef Janssens from ASML Research.


Wageningen University & Research


You have an MSc degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Chemistry with a focus in Materials Science.
You also possess:
  • a strong background and solid hands-on experience in experimental physics, signal and data processing, statistical analysis;
  • strong interest (or preferentially experience) in scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy;
  • deep interest in applying physical methods to complex systems and enjoy working in a highly multidisciplinary, dynamic and collaborative environment and open to communicate to a language that is comprehensible to broad public and scientific audience;
  • aim to excel, and your biggest talents are creativity, persistence and being inquisitive.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1327513-1


Wageningen University & Research

Learn more about this employer


Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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