Applied Physics A

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 109-114

First online:

Molecular dynamics simulation study of the nano-wear characteristics of alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers

  • I.-H. SungAffiliated withSchool of Mechanical Engineering, Yonsei University
  • , D.-E. KimAffiliated withSchool of Mechanical Engineering, Yonsei University Email author 

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A molecular dynamics (MD) simulation study of the probe-based nano-lithography of an alkanethiol self-assembled monolayer (SAM) on a metal surface was performed. The motivation of this work was to understand the nano-tribological phenomena of the nano-metric scribing process of alkanethiol molecules and gain insight into the interaction between the probe tip and the SAM-coated surface during the scribing process. The simulation results revealed that the organothiol molecules were displaced and dragged by the probe tip during scribing due to the strong interchain interactions. It was also found that the scribed pattern width was largely dependent on the tip–surface interaction induced by the probe shape rather than the tip–surface contact size. Also, the minimum load for tip–substrate contact changed with the number of molecules that interact with the probe tip. Furthermore, from the investigation of the effect of the scribing speed on the surface-damage characteristics of the chain molecules, it was found that relatively high-speed scribing could induce excessive removal of the SAM molecules from the surface.