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PhD position Friction-switchable surfaces (1.0 FTE) (V24.0323)

Job description

Topic of research: Friction-switchable surfaces
Computer chips are the building blocks of all modern technology. The smallest structures on the most advanced chips are currently 5 nanometers. ASML’s EUV (extreme ultraviolet) scan technology enables the scale of the smallest feature to be reduced even further. Hence, wafer positioning becomes a crucial issue.

In this PhD project we would like to study different alternatives to achieve switchable/controllable friction and develop wear-resistant smart-coatings with self-adaptive friction properties. The goal is to decouple the low friction WLG requirements and the high friction needed for the thermal load cases, with a greenfield investigation on options to make switchable friction coatings activated by different techniques.

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage currently more than 34,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and the top 100 universities in the world (see our ranking:, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

THe PhD position is available in the Advanced Production Engineering (APE) research group at the Engineering and Technology institute Groningen (ENTEG), Faculty of Science and Engineering. For more information about the APE group please use the following link:


Candidates should have a master degree in materials science and engineering. A strong background in materials physics and tribology will be a clear advantage for the position. The successful candidate is expected to have an excellent academic record and is curious, creative and ambitious. You should be able to work in a multidisciplinary environment in close cooperation with other experts and be fluent in English (both oral and written). The detailed qualification of English skills is referred as the following:

  • An overall score of 6.5 or higher in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS, academic version); or
  • A score of at least 237 on the computer-based form of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or
  • A score of at least 92 on the internet-based test of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).


Conditions of employment

We offer, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE) of four years
  • a salary of € 2,770 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth year for a full-time working week
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus.

The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The preferred starting date is 1 December 2024 or earlier.


Application, including a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae including the contact information of at least two academic references, transcripts from your Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, a certification of the English language proficiency and a list of publications, must be submitted by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university's website).

You may apply for this position until 31 July 11:59pm / before 1 August 2024 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

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For information you can contact:

  • Prof. dr. Y. Pei, +31 50-3632037, y.pei

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.