Chung, KH., Kim, HJ., Lin, LY. et al. Appl. Phys. A (2008) 92: 267. doi:10.1007/s00339-008-4528-9
Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires have attracted great interest in nanodevices. In this work, the tribological characteristics of vertically grown ZnO nanowires obtained by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition were investigated by using an atomic force microscope (AFM). The ZnO nanowires were slid against flattened silicon and diamond-coated AFM probes under 50–150 nN normal force while monitoring the frictional force. The wear of the ZnO nanowires was observed by a scanning electron microscope and quantified based on Archard’s wear law. Also, the wear debris accumulated on the silicon probe was analyzed by using a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The results showed that the wear of ZnO nanowires slid against the silicon probe was extremely small. However, when the ZnO nanowires were slid against the diamond-coated probe, the wear coefficients ranged from 0.006 to 0.162, which correspond to the range of severe wear at the macroscale. It was also shown that the friction coefficient decreased from 0.30 to 0.25 as the sliding cycles increased. From TEM observation, it was found that the ZnO wear debris was mainly amorphous in structure. Also, crystalline ZnO nanoparticles were observed among the wear debris.