Dynamically tuning friction at the graphene interface using the field effect

Gus Greenwood, Jin Myung Kim, Shahriar Muhammad Nahid, Yeageun Lee, Amin Hajarian, SungWoo Nam, Rosa M. Espinosa-Marzal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamically controlling friction in micro- and nanoscale devices is possible using applied electrical bias between contacting surfaces, but this can also induce unwanted reactions which can affect device performance. External electric fields provide a way around this limitation by removing the need to apply bias directly between the contacting surfaces. 2D materials are promising candidates for this approach as their properties can be easily tuned by electric fields and they can be straightforwardly used as surface coatings. This work investigates the friction between single layer graphene and an atomic force microscope tip under the influence of external electric fields. While the primary effect in most systems is electrostatically controllable adhesion, graphene in contact with semiconducting tips exhibits a regime of unexpectedly enhanced and highly tunable friction. The origins of this phenomenon are discussed in the context of fundamental frictional dissipation mechanisms considering stick slip behavior, electron-phonon coupling and viscous electronic flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5801
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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