Nanotribology pp 327-346 | Cite as

Nanolubrication: Concept and Design

  • Stephen M. Hsu


The advent of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) devices, sensors, actuators, microsystems, and nanotechnology have called to attention the effect of friction on moving parts in nano/micro devices. To take full advantage of the opportunity to sense, compute, and actuate in real time, fast-moving parts are often necessary or desirable. As the scales of the components shrink, adhesion, stiction, friction, and wear become a significant technological barrier for the successful deployment of durable devices. Most current devices in production avoid such contacts.

Surface forces that normally are dwarfed by mechanical loading, as component scale moves from macro to micro to nano, dominate the nature of the surface contacts. Therefore nanolubrication needs to take into account different factors than conventional lubrication concepts. This paper compares traditional lubrication concepts and those necessary for nanolubrication and proposes various nanometer scale thick lubricating film designs as a means to control the surface properties of surfaces at nano/micro scales.

Many of the concepts derive their origin from studies and observations from the magnetic hard disk technology where a monolayer of lubricant protects the system and has proven to be robust and safe. Examples from magnetic hard disks will be used to illustrate some of the concepts.


Contact Pressure Adhesive Strength Monolayer Film Lubricant Molecule Antiwear Additive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen M. Hsu
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

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