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Friction and elasticity on a molecular scale

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Abstract

A molecular scale atomic force microscopy study of friction and elasticity is presented on a one-component lipid bilayer system - a model boundary lubricant. With a real area of contact on the order of the lattice spacings of the sample, the elastic compliances of single lipid molecules are recorded - the first report of a molecularly resolved elasticity map. The anisotropic and highly ordered structure of the lipid bilayer has been observed to cause contrast information in friction on molecularly flat areas, and to be dependent on the sliding direction. This anisotropic behavior of friction has been measured to be independent of normal elastic compliances. Only asymmetric indentation which causes in-plane compliances leads to heterogeneities in the elasticity map. In this fundamental study of friction, the effects of adhesion and elasticity are discussed.

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Overney, R.M., Leta, D.P. Friction and elasticity on a molecular scale. Tribol Lett 1, 247–252 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00209779

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Keywords

  • microscopy
  • AFM
  • SFM
  • FFM
  • friction
  • elasticity
  • anisotropy in friction
  • cohesive energy
  • molecular scale elasticity
  • lipid film
  • Langmuir-Blodgett films
  • ultrathin films