Nanoscopic friction under electrochemical control

A. S. De Wijn*, A. Fasolino, A. E. Filippov, M. Urbakh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a theoretical model of friction under electrochemical conditions focusing on the interaction of a force microscope tip with adsorbed polar molecules whose orientation depends on the applied electric field. We demonstrate that the dependence of friction force on the electric field is determined by the interplay of two channels of energy dissipation: (i) the rotation of dipoles and (ii) slips of the tip over potential barriers. We suggest a promising strategy to achieve a strong dependence of nanoscopic friction on the external field based on the competition between long-range electrostatic interactions and short-range chemical interactions between tip and adsorbed polar molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2014


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