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 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.
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.