Solving the puzzle of friction variability in semiconductor chip manufacturing!

Fully Funded PhD opportunity.

PhD Studentship in the iT-CDT at The University of Sheffield funded by ASML

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Tribology (iT-CDT), in collaboration with ASML in the Netherlands is offering a fully funded 4 - year PhD.

About the Project:

As the feature sizes in semiconductor chips steadily decrease, and now rapidly approach the scale of only a few atomic spacings, tribology plays a more and more important role in the complex lithography machines used to produce the chips. In order to meet the needs of future nano-lithography technology, a basic understanding of friction and the origins of friction variation is needed at the fundamental level, leading to solution spaces for controlling the friction behaviour during chip manufacture.

This project will focus on the dynamic real-time mechanical testing of ASML industrially relevant tribo-systems to quantify in-situthe interfacial and frictional phenomena occurring at the micro and nanoscale. The imaging resolution and spectroscopy capabilities of electron microscopes will be exploited to go beyond the limitations of conventional tribological testing methodologies. The experiments will be complementary to advanced ex-situ testing methodologies currently used at ASML/ARCNL in the Netherlands and a period of time working at ARCNL in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is envisaged as part of the project.

About ASML& iT-CDT:

ASML ( is the world leader in the production of lithography machines that define the structures of processor and memory chips for computers, tablets and smartphones. The fabrication of 3-dimensional electronic chips is achieved by high-resolution lithographic patterning of silicon repeated dozens of times, layer upon layer, ultimately creating a grid of hundreds of chips on a single silicon wafer. All of the world’s top chipmakers such as Samsung, Intel and TSMC use ASML’s technology, enabling the waves of innovation that help tackle the world’s toughest challenges. ASML works together closely with the Advanced Research Centre for Nanolithography (ARCNL) in Amsterdam (, who carry out fundamental research at the highest level with a clear relevance to key technologies in nanolithography.

iT-CDT, the Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Tribologyis a training and research centre for PhD Students. The Centre operates jointly between the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds and recruits a cohort of 12 students per year working along side world leading academics and industrial partners.

Tribology is all about friction, wear and lubrication and is the science behind how things move over each other. The iT-CDT provides students with advanced science and technology training designed to provide relevant tribology fundamentals to students with engineering and physical sciences background, a bespoke professional and personal development programme, to equip students with transferable skills required for careers in both academia and industry and industry exposure through placements/projects with industrial partners.

Applicants should be available to start 1stOctober and will receive a starting enhanced stipend of £16,264.00 for academic year 2018/19.

Please note that funding can only be secured for home rated students (UK or EU students with 3 or more years residency).


  • 1st / 2:1 Degree In Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Mathematics Or Other Relevant Discipline.

  • IELTS 6.5 with not less than 6.0 in listening, reading, speaking and writing.

  • UK/EU Home Rated Status

  • Enthusiasm For Original Applied Research

  • Enquiring Mind And Scientific Understanding

  • Ambition To Work With Industry

  • Ability And Desire To Work In A Team

How to Apply:

Applications should be submitted through the University system,

Further Information:

discuss this PhD project - Please contact Professor Beverley Inkson for more details:, +44 (0) 114 2225925.

To find out more about the iT-CDT and what we do; please visit or contact iT-CDT Centre Manager Kimberley Matthews - Hyde on

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