Friction boosted by equilibrium misalignment of incommensurate two-dimensional colloid monolayers

Davide Mandelli, Andrea Vanossi, Nicola Manini, Erio Tosatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colloidal two-dimensional monolayers sliding in an optical lattice are of recent importance as a frictional system. In the general case when the monolayer and optical lattices are incommensurate, we predict two important novelties, one in the static equilibrium structure, the other in the frictional behavior under sliding. Structurally, realistic simulations show that the colloid layer should possess in full equilibrium a small misalignment rotation angle relative to the optical lattice, an effect so far unnoticed but visible in some published experimental moiré patterns. Under sliding, this misalignment has the effect of boosting the colloid monolayer friction by a considerable factor over the hypothetical aligned case discussed so far. A frictional increase of similar origin must generally affect other incommensurate adsorbed monolayers and contacts, to be sought out case by case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108302
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


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