Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanofriction on the tip of the microscope

Date:
December 16, 2013
Source:
Sissa Medialab
Summary:
Theoretical physicists have revealed the secrets of the nanofriction produced when an atomic force microscope observes the surface of certain materials.

Graphical rendering of the “system” studied by Pellegrini, Santoro, Tosatti.
Credit: SISSA

A research paper published in the journal Nature Materials, the result of the collaboration between a group of theoretical physicists from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste and a group of experimental physicists from the University of Basel, reveals the secrets of the nanofriction produced when an atomic force microscope observes the surface of certain materials.

Related Articles


Atomic force microscopes are able to reproduce spectacular images, at the scale of single atoms. This is made possible by the oscillation of a very sharp probe tip over the surface being observed. The tip never touches the surface but gets so close to it, at distances in the order of one billionth of a metre, that it "feels" the force due to the interaction with the atoms making up the material being observed. These are tiny forces, in the order of nanonewtons (meaning one billion times smaller than the weight of an apple). By measuring these forces one can reproduce an image of the material. A research group, which brings together experimental physicists from the University of Basel and theoretical physicists from SISSA, has observed and explained a peculiar effect, a source of "friction" in this type of nanoscopic observations.

When the tip of the microscope oscillates over certain surfaces, in this case over NbSe2 (niobium selenide), peaks of "dissipation" (i.e., loss of energy) can be seen when the tip is at specific distances from the surface, as if it were held back, at certain locations, by some frictional force. This effect, which is related to a property of the surface known as charge density waves (CDW), was experimentally observed by the Basel physicists and first explained by Franco Pellegrini, Giuseppe Santoro and Erio Tosatti, of SISSA, by means of a theoretical model analysed with the use of numerical simulations.

"Our model describes in detail the interaction between the tip of the atomic force microscope and the CDW," explains Pellegrini. "The model reproduces -- and predicts -- the data observed experimentally."

"Knowledge of nanofriction is important today. Progressive miniaturization of electronic devices makes it crucial to understand the mechanisms underlying energy losses," continues Pellegrini. "In addition, thanks to our work we now have a more accurate description of charge density waves." The paper was published on December 15 in Nature Materials.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sissa Medialab. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Markus Langer, Marcin Kisiel, Rémy Pawlak, Franco Pellegrini, Giuseppe E. Santoro, Renato Buzio, Andrea Gerbi, Geetha Balakrishnan, Alexis Baratoff, Erio Tosatti, Ernst Meyer. Giant frictional dissipation peaks and charge-density-wave slips at the NbSe2 surface. Nature Materials, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nmat3836

Cite This Page:

Sissa Medialab. "Nanofriction on the tip of the microscope." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216080316.htm>.
Sissa Medialab. (2013, December 16). Nanofriction on the tip of the microscope. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216080316.htm
Sissa Medialab. "Nanofriction on the tip of the microscope." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216080316.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

At Least 15 Injured in a California Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

At Least 15 Injured in a California Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) — At least 15 injred after natural gas transmission line ruptures in Fresno, California. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) — NASA&apos;s prototype electric buggy could influence future space rovers and conventional cars. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) — American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Nanoscale Friction: High Energy Losses in the Vicinity of Charge Density Waves

Dec. 15, 2013 — Scientists have observed a strong energy loss caused by frictional effects in the vicinity of charge density waves. This may have practical significance in the control of nanoscale ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins