, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 319-324
Date: 27 Mar 2011

Frictional Properties of a Mesoscopic Contact with Engineered Surface Roughness

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Friction between titanium spheres and an artificially structured silicon surface was measured with a friction force microscope. Two spheres with radii of 2.3 μm and 7.9 μm were firmly glued to the tip of the microscope cantilever. A periodic stripe pattern with a groove depth of 26 nm and systematically increasing groove width from 500 nm to 3500 nm was fabricated from a silicon wafer with a focused ion beam. The sphere substrate friction coefficient shows a strong enhancement at a certain groove periodicity, which is related to geometrical interlocking of the two surfaces. This shows that careful modification of the surface roughness can help to control the tribological behavior of mesoscale contacts.