Professor Steve Franklin

BSc PhD MInstP

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

RAEng. Visiting Industrial Professor, Tribology

Full contact details

Professor Steve Franklin
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

Steve Franklin is based in the Netherlands and currently leads the Contact Dynamics research group at the Advanced Research Centre for Nanolithography in Amsterdam. He is also Senior Principal Architect in Tribology at the company ASML, which is the world leader in machines for the manufacture of semiconductor chips. He has his own consultancy business.

Steve has a BSc. in Physics and Materials Engineering from Sheffield Hallam University and a PhD in Metallurgy from Loughborough University. After a time as a lecturer in Materials Engineering at Loughborough, Steve moved to the Netherlands to join Philips Electronics. He worked for 30 years as Chief Technologist at Philips, leading research and development for a wide variety of home healthcare and medical devices, consumer products, and manufacturing equipment, before starting his current activities in 2017.

Steve was appointed Visiting Industrial Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments at the University of Sheffield in 2008 and is a member of the steering committee of the Leonardo Centre of Tribology and Surface Technology, as well as various department Industrial Advisory Boards.

Research interests

Steve's research interests focus broadly on industrial applications of tribology. His current research centres on understanding and influencing friction and wear, including tribochemical wear, at different length scales down to the atomic level: which parameters affect the tribological behaviour over time and why, how can we influence it to improve high-precision positioning? These questions are of direct relevance to positioning challenges in nanolithography. Surface topography, surface coatings and controlled environments play important roles in finding ways to manipulate the tribological behaviour.

In ASML lithography machines, silicon wafers are loaded onto the wafer stage and subsequently moved in a horizontal direction with extremely high precision and acceleration. Variations in the friction between the wafer and the wafer stage lead to unpredictable positional errors during the lithography process and effectively limit the minimum achievable size of features on the chips. In the past, Steve has also carried out much research on the tribology of human tissue including skin, eyes and blood vessels, and on understanding the tribology of various materials such as hard coatings and polymers, all in order to enable the industrial development of improved products.

Professional activities and memberships


  1. US20180180902A1 Friction Stabilized Contact Lenses (28-06-2018)
  2. WO2017021172A1 Catheter Assembly with Low Axial Sliding Friction (09-02-2017)
  3. WO2016193131A1 Actuator Based on an Electroactive Polymer (08-12-2016)
  4. WO2016181319A1 Brush Head Assembly (17-11-2016)
  5. WO2016156471A1 Energy Generation System and Method (06-10-2016)
  6. WO2016091706A1 Skin Treatment Device (16-06-2016)
  7. WO2014207594A1 Patient Interface Devices with Adhesive Attachment (31-12-2014)
  8. WO2013098694A1 Patient Interface Arrangement with Adjustable Forehead Support (04-07-2013)
  9. WO2013088332A1 Patient Interface Device Fixable to the Patient via a Bone Anchor Inside the Patients Mouth (20-06-2013)
  10. WO2011084684A1 Contact Lens Eye Model (14-07-2011)
  11. WO2009111545A3 Rotationally Stabilized Contact Lenses and methods for their Design (11-09-2009)