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Atomic Force Microscopy in Nanotribology: How AFM Can Be Used to Study Nanoscale Friction, Wear, and Lubrication


Tribology is the science and technology of friction, wear, and lubrication. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is an important tool for understanding nanoscale tribological phenomena. In this webinar, Asylum Research applications scientist Ted Limpoco will first introduce how AFMs can be used to measure friction at the nanoscale and show how this is used to study tribofilms, contacts in MEMs devices, and in developing bioinspired lubrication.

Dr. Shivaprakash Ramakrishna, senior scientist at ETH Zurich, will then present his research on the nanotribology of linear and cyclic polymer brushes on surfaces. These polymer “brushes” consist of macromolecules chain end-grafted to a solid surface. They have attracted the attention of researchers in applications ranging from the generation of boundary lubricants to the fabrication of biopassive interfaces in medical devices.

To develop these lubricious and bio-repellent brushes, one must first learn how to fabricate them with well-defined architecture, thickness, and grafting density on different substrates. Dr. Ramakrishna will explain how all these parameters determine adhesion, friction, and contact mechanics for chemically diverse and structurally different brushes. He will show how colloidal probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM) measurements were used to establish how brush thickness and grafting density strongly influence the lateral deformability of grafted chains while sliding. In turn, lateral deformability of brushes is found to directly determine their frictional and contact mechanical behavior.

Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to be addressed by the speakers in the question and answer session that follows the main presentations. Certificates of attendance will be sent to those who attend the live webinar.

About the speakers:

Dr. Ted Limpoco -Applications Scientist, Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Inc.

Dr. Shivaprakash Ramakrishna - Senior Scientist, Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology Department of Materials ETH Zurich, Switzerland

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