Friction and other dissipative processes play a crucial role in applications ranging from car engines to hip replacements, but key aspects of these phenomena are still not well understood. In addition, tribological behavior can change dramatically as critical dimensions shrink, due to increased surface-to-volume ratios. Atomic force microscopes provide many capabilities for tribological experiments on atomic to micrometer length scales. Current models can measure very small lateral forces over a wide range of normal forces, with higher force sensitivity and lower noise. Increased scan speeds enable velocity-dependent studies over a wider range. These and other features such as higher spatial resolution, extensive environmental control, and numerous routines for setup and data analysis make atomic force microscopy a powerful tool for nanotribology.Ask an AFM expert for more information
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