Nanotribological properties of silicon nano-pillars coated by a Z-DOL lubricating film
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- Pham, D.C., Na, K., Yang, S. et al. J Mech Sci Technol (2010) 24: 59. doi:10.1007/s12206-009-1128-3
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This paper reports a novel approach for improving the nanotribological properties of silicon (Si) surfaces by topographically and chemically modifying the surfaces. In the first step, Si (100) wafers were topographically modified into nano-pillars by using the photolithography and reactive ion etching (RIE) techniques. Various patterns, including nano-pillars of varying diameters and pitches (distance between pillars), were fabricated. Then, the patterns were coated with a Z-DOL (perfluoropolyether (PFPE)) lubricating film using a dipcoating technique, and this process was followed by thermal treatment. These modified surfaces were tested for their nanotribological properties, namely adhesion and friction forces, using an atomic force microscope (AFM). The results showed that the topographical modification and Z-DOL coating each independently reduced the adhesion and friction forces on the Si surfaces. However, the combination of the two surface treatments was most effective in reducing these forces. This is attributed to the combined effects of the reduction in the real area of contact due to patterning and the low surface energy of the Z-DOL lubricant. Further, it was found that adhesion and friction forces of the surfaces with combined modification varied significantly depending on the diameter of the pillars and the pitch. It is proposed that such a combination of surface modifications promises to be an effective method to improve the nanotribological performance of miniaturized devices, such as MEMS, in which Si is a typical material.