Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Heavier hydrogen on the atomic scale reduces friction

06.11.2007
Scientists may be one step closer to understanding the atomic forces that cause friction, thanks to a recently published study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Houston and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

The research, led by Robert Carpick of the University of Pennsylvania, found a significant difference in friction exhibited by diamond surfaces that had been coated with different isotopes of hydrogen and then rubbed against a small carbon-coated tip.

Scientists lack a comprehensive model of friction on the nanoscale and only generally grasp its atomic-level causes, which range from local chemical reactions to electronic interactions to phononic, or vibrational, resonances.

To investigate the latter, Argonne scientist Anirudha Sumant and his colleagues used single-crystal diamond surfaces coated with layers of either atomic hydrogen or deuterium, a hydrogen atom with an extra neutron. The deuterium-terminated diamonds had lower friction forces because of their lower vibrational frequencies, an observation that Sumant attributed to that isotope's larger mass. They have also observed same trend on a silicon substrate, which is structurally similar to that of diamond.

Previous attempts to make hydrogen-terminated diamond surfaces relied on the use of plasmas, which tended to etch the material.

"When you're looking at such a small isotopic effect, an objectively tiny change in the mass, you have to be absolutely sure that there are no other complicating effects caused by chemical or electronic interferences or by small topographic variations," Sumant said. "The nanoscale roughening of the diamond surface from the ion bombardment during the hydrogen or deuterium termination process, even though it was at very low level, remained one of our principal concerns."

Sumant and his collaborators had looked at a number of other ways to try to avoid etching, even going to such lengths as to soak the films in olive oil before applying the hydrogen layers. However, no method had provided a smooth, defect-free hydrogen layer with good coverage that would avoid generating background noise, he said.

However, while performing work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sumant developed a system for depositing diamond thin films. The technique, called hot filament chemical vapor deposition, involves the heating of a tungsten filament (like those found in incandescent light bulbs) to over 2000 degrees Celsius.

If the diamond film is exposed to a flow of molecular hydrogen while sitting within a centimeter of the hot filament, the heat will cause the molecular hydrogen to break down into atomic hydrogen, which will react with the film's surface to create a perfectly smooth layer. Since this method does not require the use of plasma, there is no danger of ion-induced etching.

"We've proved that this is a gentler method of terminating a diamond surface," Sumant said.

Sumant said that he hopes to use the knowledge gained from the experiment to eventually discover a way to manipulate the friction of surfaces on the atomic level. Such a result would prove immensely valuable to the development of nanoelectromechanical systems, or NEMS, based on diamonds, one of Sumant's primary research interests at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials.

The paper, "Nanoscale Friction Varied by Isotopic Shifting of Surface Vibrational Frequencies," appears in the November 2 issue of Science.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Department of Energy's Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

About The Center for Nanoscale Materials

The Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory is a joint partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Illinois, as part of DOE'S Nanoscale Science Research Center program. The CNM serves as a user-based center, providing tools and infrastructure for nanoscience and nanotechnology research. The CNM's mission includes supporting basic research and the development of advanced instrumentation that will help generate new scientific insights and create new materials with novel properties. The existence of the CNM, with its centralized facilities, controlled environments, technical support, and scientific staff, enabled researchers to excel and significantly extend their reach.

Argonne National Laboratory, a renowned R&D center, brings the world's brightest scientists and engineers together to find exciting and creative new solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America 's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Steve McGregor | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.anl.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>