Tribology Letters

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 371–378 | Cite as

Ultrathin PFPE Film Systems Fabricated by Covalent Assembly: An Application to Tribology

Original Paper


In this study, we have employed covalent molecular assembly to fabricate robust thin film structures comprising molecular layers and have demonstrated its application in tribology. An anhydride-functionalized polymer (gantrez) was deposited over an amine-functionalized silicon surface through covalent binding and employed as an intermediate layer between derivatized silicon and perfluoropolyether (PFPE). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and ellipsometry were employed to study the interfacial chemistry, morphology, and thickness of the assembled films. The films show excellent stability and strength against sonication, which can be attributed to the covalent interlayer linkage. Such films showed wear life of >100,000 cycles in ball-on-disk sliding tests at a normal load of 0.5 N and a sliding rotation of 200 rpm at a track radius of 3.2 mm. The performance was superior compared to that of PFPE-coated self assembled monolayers used as the lubricating layer. The film systems and assembly technique can be employed as nano-lubrication in several technological applications, such as information storage devices and micro-electro-mechanical systems.


Covalent molecular assembly Ultrathin films Self assembled monolayers PFPE films Tribology 



The authors thank the National University of Singapore for providing financial support for this project and a scholarship for Raju Kumar Gupta. The authors also would like to acknowledge the financial support provided to this study by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Singapore (Award No. NRF-CRP 2-2007-04). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Singapore National Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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