Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research

Title

Dynamics of Atomic Stick-Slip Friction Examined with Atomic Force Microscopy and Atomistic Simulations at Overlapping Speeds

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-6-2015

Abstract

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and atomistic simulations of atomic friction with silicon oxide tips sliding on Au(111) are conducted at overlapping speeds. Experimental data unambiguously reveal a stick-slip friction plateau above a critical scanning speed, in agreement with the thermally activated Prandtl-Tomlinson (PTT) model. However, friction in experiments is larger than in simulations. PTT energetic parameters for the two are comparable, with minor differences attributable to the contact area’s influence on the barrier to slip. Recognizing that the attempt frequency may be determined by thermal vibrations of the larger AFM tip mass or instrument noise fully resolves the discrepancy. Thus, atomic stick-slip is well described by the PTT model if sources of slip-assisting energy are accounted for.

Publication Title

Physical Review Letters

Volume

114

Issue

14

First Page

146102