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Learn How AFM is Used to Advance Nanotribology Research

Review of AFM capabilities for nanoscale characterization of friction and wear, with a focus on biomedical devices and MEMS/NEMS

AFM can elucidate tribological processes on atomic to micrometer length scales, where increased surface-to-volume ratios can dramatically alter behavior. Micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) and biomedical devices are just two of countless technologies that could benefit.

Specific examples include:

  • Imaging chemical and compositional contrast with lateral forces
  • Using friction loops and friction forces to characterize layered polymer films
  • Evaluating thermoresponsive polymers with adhesion measurements
  • Investigating stick-slip phenomena in 2D materials
  • Demonstrating microscale superlubricity with graphene-coated parts
  • Exploring how sliding velocity, humidity, and temperature affect friction and adhesion
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Capabilities described include:

  • Scanning and imaging with lateral force microscopy (LFM)
  • Measuring friction forces and friction coefficients
  • Measuring adhesion with force curves
  • Colloidal probes to explore surface chemistry effects
  • Cypher ES AFM for precise environmental control (liquids and gases, humidity, temperature)
  • Sliding velocities from ~1 nm/s to 100 μm/s, and up to 10× higher with the Cypher VRS AFM
  • Calibrating absolute forces