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Research Highlight | Center for Nanoscale Materials

Engineered graphene overlayers reduce friction and wear

In a study published in Nano Letters, researchers investigated the underlying mechanisms that allow new graphene and silicon nitride lubricants to reduce friction and save energy in mechanical systems.

Scientific Achievement

A new type of graphene/silicon nitride bilayer overcoat (3-4 nm thick) reduces microscale friction and wear on flat surfaces relevant to mechanical systems; simulations reveal the underlying atomistic mechanism.

Significance and Impact

Small improvements in friction and wear can greatly impact energy savings in diverse applications from magnetic storage systems, and micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems to moving machine components.

Research Details

  • The origin of the reduced wear and friction was determined by atomic emission spectroscopy, ion mass spectrometry, and Raman spectroscopy by Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) users from National University of Singapore, and supported by atomistic simulations (molecular dynamics) performed at CNM.

Work was performed, in part, at CNM.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b03650

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About Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials
The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit https://​sci​ence​.osti​.gov/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​-​a​t​-​a​-​G​lance.

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