Microscale study of frictional properties of graphene in ultra high vacuum

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We report on the frictional properties of epitaxial graphene on SiC in ultra high vacuum. Measurements have been performed using a microtribometer in the load regime of 0.5 to 1 mN. We observed that a ruby sphere sliding against graphene results in very low friction coefficients ranging from 0.02 to 0.05. The friction and also the stability of the graphene layer is higher than that under similar conditions in ambient conditions. The friction shows a load dependence. Finally it was found that graphene masks the frictional anisotropy which was observed on the SiC surface.


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Correspondence to Martin Dienwiebel.

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Diego MARCHETTO. He is a researcher and obtained his master degree and PhD degree in physics in 2003 and 2010 from University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy). He worked with Dr. Martin Dienwiebel as a post doctoral fellow at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany from 2009–2014. Presently he works as researcher at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy). Currently his research areas include tribology of graphene, microscale friction and lubrication at low temperature. He has participated in many research projects and has published more than 10 papers on international journals.

Tim FESER. He obtained his master degree and PhD degree in mechanical engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2009 and 2013. He is presently working at BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Martin DIENWIEBEL. He is an assistant professor and obtained his master degree in physics in 1997 from Bonn University, Germany, and received his PhD degree in 2003 from Leiden University, The Netherlands. During this period he was working as visiting scientist at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. From 2003–2007 he worked at the Tribology and Research department of IAVF Antriebstechnik AG, Germany. In 2008 he received an Emmy-Noether fellowship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Presently he is working as group leader at Fraunhofer Institute of Technology and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. His research interests are in the area of superlow friction, running-in, superlubricity, analytical and nano-scale processes of tribological interfaces.

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Marchetto, D., Feser, T. & Dienwiebel, M. Microscale study of frictional properties of graphene in ultra high vacuum. Friction 3, 161–169 (2015).

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  • graphene
  • SiC
  • friction
  • vacuum
  • microtribology
  • anisotropy