“Keep cool to reduce friction” might be the advice given to designers of nanoscale machinery by researchers who have just completed a study of factors influencing the formation of “water bridges” – capillary connections that can glue surfaces together, giving rise to friction forces.
When surfaces touch in a humid environment, moisture forms water bridges, or capillaries, between them. On familiar size scales, this process – known as nucleation – helps hold sand castles and wet concrete together, and is critical to the formation of clouds. But sometimes these structures can be less helpful, causing friction sufficient to slow or even stop nanoscale machinery – or in food processing, creating large clusters of sugar, salt, baby cereals or coffee.
By studying the frictional forces acting on an atomic force microscope (AFM) tip drawn across a glass surface, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have demonstrated for the first time that the formation of these capillaries is thermally activated. Their study suggests that it may be possible to reduce the adhesion between surfaces by reducing temperatures and putting nanoscale surfaces into motion before the water bridges have time to form.
John Toon | EurekAlert!
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Attoseconds break into atomic interior
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy