Tribology Letters

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 195–206 | Cite as

A Tribological Study of Multiply-Alkylated Cyclopentanes and Perfluoropolyether Lubricants for Application to Si-MEMS Devices

  • Jonathan Y. Leong
  • N. Satyanarayana
  • Sujeet K. Sinha
Original Paper


Lubrication of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is a major constraint in MEMS applications, restricting the designs and practical usages of such devices. Possible lubricants and methods have been investigated in this paper, comparing perfluoropolyether (PFPE) lubricant with multiply-alkylated cyclopentanes (MACs). The effectiveness of both the lubricants in reducing friction and enhancing the wear life was investigated in a new method of MEMS lubrication known as Localised-Lubrication or “Loc-Lub.” Friction and wear tests were conducted in a flat-on-flat test geometry under a normal load of 50 g and a sliding velocity of 5 mm s−1 in reciprocation, with Si as the substrate. Further tests were conducted at higher loads, to compare wear durability between lubricants and methods. It was found that MACs have a propensity to remain cohesive during the tests due to higher surface tension and provide better friction and wear properties when tested under reciprocating sliding conditions, as a complete film is present between the two surfaces. The results show that MAC lubricant is more effective in extending the wear life and reducing friction under the tested conditions compared to PFPE.


MEMS devices Boundary lubrication Friction 



This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its CRP (Competitive Research Program) funding (Award Number: 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.


  1. 1.
    Mate, C.M.: Tribology on the Small Scale—A Bottom Up Approach to Friction, Lubrication and Wear. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2007)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Potter, C.N.: Hermetic MEMS package and method of manufacture. U.S. Patent No. 7,358,106 B22005, Stellar MicroDevices, Inc., AustinGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ashurst, W.R., de Boer, M.P., Carraro, C., Maboudian, R.: An investigation of sidewall adhesion in MEMS. Appl. Surf. Sci. 212–213, 735–741 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bhushan, B.: Tribology and Mechanics of Magnetic Storage Devices. Springer-Verlag, New York (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tani, H., Matsumoto, H.: Spreading mechanism of PFPE lubricant on the magnetic disks. J. Tribol. 123(3), 533–540 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wang, M., Miyake, S., Matsunuma, S.: Nanowear studies of PFPE lubricant on magnetic perpendicular recording DLC-film-coated disk by lateral oscillation test. Wear 259(7–12), 1332–1342 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sinha, S.K., Jonathan, L.Y., Satyanarayana, N., Yu, H., Harikumar, V., Zhou, G.: Method of applying a lubricant to a micromechanical device. U.S. Provisional Patent 61/314,627, 2010Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jonathan, L.Y., Harikumar, V., Satyanarayana, N., Sinha, S.K.: Localized lubrication of micromachines: a feasibility study on Si in reciprocating sliding with PFPE as the lubricant. Wear 270(1–2), 19–31 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hongbin, Y., Guangya, Z., Sinha, S.K., Leong, J.Y., Fook Siong, C.: Characterization and reduction of MEMS sidewall friction using novel microtribometer and localized lubrication method. J. Microelectromech. Syst. 20(4), 991–1000 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Paciorek, K.J.L., Kratzer, R.H.: Stability of perfluoroalkylethers. J. Fluor. Chem. 67(2), 169–175 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kasai, P.H.: Degradation of perfluoropolymers catalyzed by lewis acids. ASME Adv. Inf. Stor. Syst. 4, 291–314 (1992)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Luo, J., Yang, M., Zhang, C., Pan, G., Wen, S.: Study on the cyclotriphosphazene film on magnetic head surface. Tribol. Int. 37(7), 585–590 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nakayama, K., Mirza, S.M.: Verification of the decomposition of perfluoropolyether fluid due to tribomicroplasma. Tribol. Trans. 49(1), 17–25 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wei, J., Fong, W., Bogy, D., Bhatia, C.: The decomposition mechanisms of a perfluoropolyether at the head/disk interface of hard disk drives. Tribol. Lett. 5(2), 203–209 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bair, S., Vergne, P., Marchetti, M.: The effect of shear-thinning on film thickness for space lubricants. Tribol. Trans. 45(3), 330–333 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Nelias, D., Legrand, E., Vergne, P., Mondier, J.-B.: Traction behavior of some lubricants used for rolling bearings in spacecraft applications: experiments and thermal model based on primary laboratory data. J. Tribol. 124(1), 72–81 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wang, Y., Mo, Y., Zhu, M., Bai, M.: Wettability and nanotribological property of multiply alkylated cyclopentanes (MACs) on silicon substrates. Tribol. Trans. 53(2), 219–223 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chun, S.W., Talke, F.E., Kang, H.J., Kim, W.K.: Thermal characteristics of multiply alkylated cyclopentane and perfluoropolyether. Tribol. Trans. 46(1), 70–75 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wang, Y., Wang, L., Mo, Y., Xue, Q.: Fabrication and tribological behavior of patterned multiply-alkylated cyclopentanes (MACs)–octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) dual-component film by a soft lithographic approach. Tribol. Lett. 41(1), 163–170 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ma, J.Q., Pang, C.J., Mo, Y.F., Bai, M.W.: Preparation and tribological properties of multiply-alkylated cyclopentane (MAC)–octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) double-layer film on silicon. Wear 263(7–12), 1000–1007 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ma, J., Liu, J., Mo, Y., Bai, M.: Effect of multiply-alkylated cyclopentane (MAC) on durability and load-carrying capacity of self-assembled monolayers on silicon wafer. Colloids Surf. A 301(1–3), 481–489 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ma, J., Mo, Y., Bai, M.: Effect of Ag nanoparticles additive on the tribological behavior of multialkylated cyclopentanes (MACs). Wear 266(7–8), 627–631 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Abdul Samad, M., Satyanarayana, N., Sinha, S.K.: Tribology of UHMWPE film on air-plasma treated tool steel and the effect of PFPE overcoat. Surf. Coat. Technol. 204(9–10), 1330–1338 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dube, M.J., Bollea, D., Jones, W.R., Marchetti, M., Jansen, M.J.: A new synthetic hydrocarbon liquid lubricant for space applications. Tribol. Lett. 15(1), 3–8 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Myo, M., Jonathan, L.Y., Sinha, S.K.: Effects of interfacial energy modifications on the tribology of UHMWPE coated Si. J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 41(5), 055307 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Xiao-Yan, G., Xin, L., Yuan-Zhong, H., Hui, W.: The spreading behaviour of perfluoropolyether droplets on solid surfaces. Chin. Phys. B 17(3), 1094 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Li, N., Meng, Y., Bogy, D.: Effects of PFPE lubricant properties on the critical clearance and rate of the lubricant transfer from disk surface to slider. Tribol. Lett. 43, 1–12 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sinha, S.K., Kawaguchi, M., Kato, T., Kennedy, F.E.: Wear durability studies of ultra-thin perfluoropolyether lubricant on magnetic hard disks. Tribol. Int. 36(4–6), 217–225 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Briscoe, B.J., Evans, D.C.B.: The shear properties of Langmuir–Blodgett layers. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A Math. Phys. Sci. 380(1779), 389–407 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Demirel, A.L., Granick, S.: Glasslike transition of a confined simple fluid. Phys. Rev. Lett. 77(11), 2261–2264 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wang, Y., Baia, M.: Wettability study of multiply-alkylated cyclopentanes (MACs) on silicon substrates. In: Luo, J., Meng, Y., Shao, T., Zhao, Q. (eds.) Advanced Tribology, pp. 102–103. Springer, Berlin (2010)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Y. Leong
    • 1
  • N. Satyanarayana
    • 1
  • Sujeet K. Sinha
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringIndian Institute of TechnologyKanpurIndia

Personalised recommendations