“for the development, application and commercialization of high-speed, temperature-controlled,
in situ scanning probe microscopy, leading to key insights in the structure, dynamics and chemistry of surfaces and interfaces”
Joost W.M. Frenken is the Director of the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL).
Frenken obtained his MSc degree in Physics (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam in 1982 and his PhD degree in Physics (cum laude) from the University of Utrecht in 1986. His doctoral project was carried out at the FOM Institute AMOLF. From 1986 to 1988, Frenken worked as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Strömungsforschung. After a short stay in 1988 at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, he started his own research group at the FOM Institute AMOLF, first as a C. and C. Huygens Fellow and later as a regular staff member. In 1994, Frenken was appointed Extraordinary Professor at Leiden University and in 1996, he moved to the Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory in Leiden as a regular (full) professor in Experimental Physics. He continues to head his Interface Physics Group in the Physics Department (LION) of Leiden University (with a so-called “zero-appointment”) until the end of 2017, when the last doctoral student in Leiden has graduated. In 2014, Frenken started as Director of ARCNL. His own research group at ARCNL is devoted to deposition, evolution and frictional properties of nanolayers. Since 2015, Frenken is also a professor in Experimental Physics at the University of Amsterdam and at the VU University Amsterdam.
From 2007 to 2013, Frenken was the Scientific Director of the Dutch, national SmartMix consortium: Nano-IMaging under Industrial Conditions (NIMIC). In addition, he has recently served as the initiator and Director of the Dutch NanoNextNL program on Nano-Imaging and Characterization and of the Dutch FOM program on Fundamental Aspects of Friction. Frenken is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), serves on a variety of national and international committees and boards, is a past-chairman of the Dutch Association for Crystal Growth, former president of the Netherlands Vacuum Society, and past-chairman of the Condensed Matter Division of FOM, the Dutch national physics funding agency.
In 1985, Frenken won the Nottingham Prize (45th PEC Meeting, Milwaukee); in 1996 he was awarded a “Pionier” personal research grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO); in 2004 he was the recipient of the Science Prize of IUVSTA (International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications) "for his pioneering work in the development and application of scanning probe microscopy to study various dynamical processes at surfaces"; in 2007 he received the Jacob Kistemaker-Prijs (triennial, Dutch physics award); in 2010 he received an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC); and he is the recipient of the 2012 FOM-Valorization Prize (Dutch award for valorization of fundamental research in physics). Frenken is co-applicant of the 10-year NWO-Gravitation program Frontiers of NanoScience(NanoFront) that was awarded in 2012 to the universities of Delft and Leiden.
Central to Frenken's research is the fundamental understanding of the dynamic aspects of surfaces and interfaces and their role in relevant, natural or industrial processes under practical conditions. Topics of interest include surface diffusion, crystal growth (e.g., graphene), surface phase transitions, catalysis and friction. For tailor-made measurements in each of these areas, Frenken’s research group has developed a variety of special-purpose scanning probe microscopes as well as dedicated instrumentation for surface x-ray diffraction.
Frenken has been (co)-initiator of two spin-off companies. Leiden Probe Microscopy BV markets commercialized versions of the research equipment developed in Frenken’s research group, with an emphasis on advanced scanning probe and x-ray diffraction instrumentation. Applied NanoLayers BV specializes in the large-scale production of high-quality graphene.