, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 83-90

Nanowear Mapping: A Novel Atomic Force Microscopy Based Approach for Studying Nanoscale Wear at High Sliding Velocities

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Most micro/nanoelectromechanical system (MEMS/NEMS) devices and components such as microgears and micromotors operate at very high sliding velocities (of the order of tens of mm/s to few m/s). Nanoscale tribology and mechanics of these devices is crucial for evaluating reliability and failure issues, including those stemming from high wear. We have developed a novel AFM based approach for studying nanoscale wear at sliding velocities up to 10 mm/s. The technique is demonstrated by mapping wear of silicon resulting from two- and three-body abrasions, and that of diamondlike carbon (DLC) resulting from phase transformation of DLC to a graphite-like phase. The novel AFM based approach for nanowear mapping provides a reliable as well as a fast means for investigating wear on the nanoscale as a function of normal load and sliding velocity.