Tribology Letters

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 181–187 | Cite as

Structural and Chemical Evolution of the Near-Apex Region of an Atomic Force Microscope Tip Subject to Sliding

  • Xiaoli Hu
  • Christopher J. Tourek
  • Zhijiang Ye
  • Sriram Sundararajan
  • Ashlie MartiniEmail author
Original Paper


Atomic force microscopy and molecular dynamics simulation are used to study the nanoscale wear of a silicon dioxide tip sliding on a copper substrate. Wear is characterized in terms of structural and chemical evolution of the system where the latter is possible experimentally using atom probe tomography of the slid tips. Comparison of the experimentally observed and simulation-predicted wear reveals that adhesive wear is dominant in the short sliding distances of the simulation at any applied load, while the sliding distances in the experiments are long enough to observe load-induced transitions between adhesive-dominated and abrasive-dominated wear.


Wear mechanisms Nanotribology AFM 



Partial funding for this study was provided by the grants from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. CBET 0932573 for CT and SS, Grant No. 1068552-CMMI for AM and ZY) and the W.M. Keck Foundation for CT and SS. CT and SS acknowledge the help of Curtis Mosher and Andrew Hillier of Iowa State University for their discussions related to tip chemistry and atom probe data analysis. AM and XH acknowledge helpful discussions with Tevis Jacobs and Robert Carpick related to the transition state theory wear model.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoli Hu
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Tourek
    • 2
  • Zhijiang Ye
    • 1
  • Sriram Sundararajan
    • 2
  • Ashlie Martini
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of EngineeringUniversity of California University of California MercedMercedUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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