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Mechanochemical reactions of GaN-Al2O3 interface at the nanoasperity contact: Roles of crystallographic polarity and ambient humidity

Abstract

Mechanochemical reactions of the GaN-Al2O3 interface offer a novel principle for scientific and technological merits in the micro-/nano-scale ultra-precision surface machining. In this work, the mechanochemical reactions on Ga- and N-faced GaN surfaces rubbed by the Al2O3 nanoasperity as a function of the environmental humidity were investigated. Experimental results indicate that the N-face exhibits much stronger mechanochemical removal over the relative humidity range of 20%–80% than the Ga-face. Increasing water molecules in environmental conditions significantly promotes the interfacial mechanochemical reactions and hence accelerates the atomic attrition on N-face. The hypothesized mechanism of the selective water-involved mechanochemical removal is associated with the dangling bond configuration, which affects the mechanically-stimulated chemical reactions via altering the activation energy barrier to form the bonding bridge across the sliding interface. These findings can enrich the understanding of the underlying mechanism of mechanochemical reactions at GaN-Al2O3 interface and a broad cognition for regulating the mechanochemical reactions widely existing in scientific and engineering applications.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51805240 and 51991373) and the Natural Science Foundation of Hunan Province (Grant No. 2019JJ50518). The authors are also grateful for the assistance from Shiyanjia Lab (https://www.shiyanjia.com) on XPS analysis.

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Correspondence to Chen Xiao or Lei Chen.

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Jian GUO. He received his Ph.D. degree in mechanical design and theory from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, in 2014. He joined the University of South China in 2017. His current position is an associate professor. His research areas cover tribology/nanotribology, micro/nano-fabrication, and molecular dynamics simulation.

Chen XIAO. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL), the Netherlands. He earned his Ph.D. degree in mechanical design and theory from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, in 2019. His research is focused on nanotribology.

Lei CHEN. He is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Southwest Jiaotong University (SWJTU) in China. He received his Ph.D. degree from SWJTU in 2013. He acted as a visiting scholar in The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) from 2016 to 2017. He has a background in mechanical engineering and surface science. His current research interest includes micro/nano-tribology and nanofabrication. He has published 60 peer-reviewed journal papers and authorized 12 patents. He is a guest associate editor of Frontiers in Chemistry.

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Guo, J., Gao, J., Xiao, C. et al. Mechanochemical reactions of GaN-Al2O3 interface at the nanoasperity contact: Roles of crystallographic polarity and ambient humidity. Friction 10, 1005–1018 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40544-021-0501-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40544-021-0501-9

Keywords

  • crystallographic polarity
  • ambient humidity
  • mechanochemical removal
  • GaN-Al2O3 interface