Mechanisms for Sliding Friction of Single Molecules Using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy at Room Temperature

We discuss the controlled translation of individual molecules across a surface in two dimensions under ultrahigh vacuum conditions using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). Based on STM observations and STM elastic scattering quantum chemical (ESQC) plus molecular mechanic calculations, a number of key features for translation are elucidated including the role of molecular flexure. In particular we suggest that single molecule motion via slip-stick, rolling, sliding, and jumping actions can be produced and visualized at the single molecule limit. Additionally we observe ``wear'' at the single molecule level where a ligand is removed through the action of pushing the molecule over a step. These unique insights provide the framework for a bottom-up approach to friction accessible to theoretical modeling.

By: J.K. Gimzewski, T. Jung, M. T. Cuberes, R. R. Schlittler and C. Joachim (CNRS, France)

Published in: NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series, Series E, Applied Sciences, vol. 330 ed. by B. Bhushan. , Dordrecht, Kluwer, p.299-309 in 1997

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