Argonne National Laboratory

Ali Erdemir

Argonne Distinguished Fellow
- Energy Systems

Ali Erdemir is an Argonne Distinguished Fellow and Senior Scientist with international recognition and significant accomplishments in the fields of materials science, surface engineering and tribology. His discoveries of nearly frictionless carbon and superhard nanocomposite coatings, as well as a range of novel nanolubricants and lubrication additives, have been hailed as major breakthroughs in the field.

Erdemir’s research is directed toward nanoscale design and large-scale manufacturing of new materials, coatings and green lubricants for a broad range of applications in manufacturing, transportation and other energy conversion and utilization systems where further increases in efficiency, reliability and environmental compatibility are the primary objectives.

Erdemir has received numerous awards, including 6 R&D 100 Awards; he holds 15 U.S. patents; and has published more than 300 papers, 18 invited book and handbook chapters, and 3 edited books. His archival publications have generated more than 10,000 citations (Google h-index:53 as of December 2015).

Awards, Honors, and Memberships

  • Mayo D. Hersey Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2015
  • Vice President, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, 2015 (President in May 2016)
  • Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University, Materials Science and Engineering Department, since 2013
  • FLC Midwest Technology Transfer Award, Federal Laboratory Consortium Midwest Region Excellence in Technology Transfer, 2007
  • Al Sonntag Award, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, 2002, 1992
  • Allan A. Manteuffel Award, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Chicago Section, 2002
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2000
  • Innovative Research Award, Tribology Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International, 1999
  • Director's Award, Argonne National Laboratory, 1999
  • Edmond E. Bisson Award, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, 1998
  • Discover Magazine Award, 1998
  • Pacesetter Award, Argonne National Laboratory, 1998
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey, 1998
  • National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health, 1986
  • National Research Service Award, National Institute of Health, 1986

R&D 100 Awards

  • R&D 100 Award for the development of versatile hard carbon microspheres from plastic waste, R and D Magazine, 2015
  • R&D 100 Award for the development of ultra-fast and large-scale boriding technology, R&D Magazine, 2012
  • The University of Chicago Medal of Distinguished Performance at Argonne National Laboratory, 2011
  • R&D 100 Award for the development of superhard and slick coatings, R&D Magazine, 2009
  • R&D 100 Award for the development of nano-structured carbide derived carbon films, R&D Magazine, 2003
  • R&D 100 Award for the development of nearly-frictionless carbon films, R&D Magazine, 1998
  • R&D 100 Award for the discovery of boric acid as a solid lubricant, R&D Magazine, 1991


  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2010
  • Fellow, American Vacuum Society, 2010
  • Fellow, Society of Tribologist and Lubrication Engineers, 2003
  • Fellow, American Society for Metals (ASM)-International, 2001
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1986

Selected Publications & Patents


  • "Coating Technology for Vehicle Applications," S-C. Cha and A. Erdemir, (Editors), Springer, New York, 2015.
  • "Energy consumption due to friction in motored vehicles and low-friction coatings to reduce it," A. Erdemir and K. Holmberg, in Coating Technology for Vehicle Applications, A. Erdemir and C.H. Cha (Editors), Springer, New York, pp. 1-23, 2015.
  • "Low-friction Materials and Coatings," A. Erdemir, in Multifunctional Surfaces and Materials for Tribological Applications," R. Wood, ed., Pan Stanford Publishing, pp. 259-289, 2015.
  • "Tribology of Diamondlike Carbon Films: Fundamentals and Applications," C. Donnet and A. Erdemir (Editors), Springer, New York, 2008 (Foreword by Prof. J. Roberson, University of Cambridge-UK).
  • "Superlubricity," A. Erdemir and J. M. Martin (editors), Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2007 (Foreword by Nobel Laureate Prof. P.-G. de Gennes, Institute Curie-France).


  • "Macroscale superlubricity enabled by graphene nanoscroll formation," D. Berman, S. A. Deshmukh, S.K.R.S. Sankaranarayanan, A. Erdemir, and A.V. Sumant, Science 348, 1118-1122, 2015.
  • "Achieving superlubricity in DLC films by controlling bulk, surface, and tribochemistry," A. Erdemir and O. Eryilmaz, Friction 2, 140-155, 2014.
  • "Bipolar Tribocharging Signal during Friction Force Fluctuations," T. Burgo, A. Erdemir, Angewandte Chemie 126, 12297-12301, 2014.
  • "Extraordinary macroscale wear resistance of one atom thick graphene layer," D. Berman, S.A. Deshmukh, S.K.R.S. Sankaranarayanan, A. Erdemir, and A.V. Sumant, Advanced Functional Materials 24, 6640-6646, 2014.
  • "Global energy consumption due to friction in passenger cars," K. Holmberg, P. Andersson, and A. Erdemir, Tribology International, 47, 221–234, 2012.
  • "Tribology of diamond-like carbon films: recent progress and future prospects,"  A. Erdemir and C. Donnet, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 39 (18), R311, 2006.
  • "The effect of laser surface texturing on transitions in lubrication regimes during unidirectional sliding contact," A. Kovalchenko, O. Ajayi, A. Erdemir, G. Fenske, and I. Etsion, Tribology International 38 (3), 219-225, 2005.
  • "Review of engineered tribological interfaces for improved boundary lubrication," A. Erdemir, Tribology International 38 (3), 249-256, 2005.
  • "Historical developments and new trends in tribological and solid lubricant coatings," C. Donnet and A. Erdemir, Surface and Coatings Technology 180, 76-84, 2004.
  • "The role of hydrogen in tribological properties of diamond-like carbon films," A. Erdemir, Surface and Coatings Technology 146, 292-297, 2001.
  • "Ultrananocrystalline diamond thin films for MEMS and moving mechanical assembly devices," A.R. Krauss, O. Auciello, D.M. Gruen, A. Jayatissa, A. Sumant, J. Tucek, and D.C. Mancini, Diamond and Related Materials 10 (11), 1952-1961, 2001.
  • "Synthesis of diamondlike carbon films with superlow friction and wear properties," A. Erdemir, O.L. Eryilmaz, and G. Fenske, Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films 18 (4), 2000.
  • "A study of the wear mechanism of diamond-like carbon films," Y. Liu, A. Erdemir, and E.I. Meletis, Surface and Coatings Technology 82 (1), 48-56, 1996.


  • U.S. Patent #9,255,238 B2: Method to Produce Catalytically Active Nanocomposite Coatings, 2016
  • U.S. Patent #8,051,402: Ultra-Fast Boriding of Metal Surfaces for Improved Properties, 2015
  • U.S. Patent #8,648,019: Materials as Additives for Advanced Lubrication, 2014
  • U.S. Patent #7,961,427: High-performance Computer Hard Disk Drive and Method, 2011
  • U.S. Patent #7,811,975: Improved Metalworking and Machining Fluids, 2010
  • U.S. Patent #7,846,556: Modulated Composite Surfaces, 2010
  • U.S. Patent #7,547,330: Methods to Improve Lubricity of Fuels and Lubricants, 2009
  • U.S. Patent #7,353,525: Reliable Disk Drive and Method to Produce the Same, 2008
  • U.S. Patent #7,211,323: Hard and Low Friction Nitride Coatings and the Methods for Forming the Same, 2007
  • U.S. Patent #6,783,651: Method to Improve Lubricity of Low Sulfur Diesel and Gasoline Fuels, 2004
  • U.S. Patent #6,548,173: Method to Produce Ultra-low Friction Carbon Films, 2003
  • U.S. Patent #6,255,234: Ultralow Friction Carbon Composites for Extreme Temperature Applications, 2001
  • U.S. Patent #6,025,306: Lubrication with Boric Acid Additives, 2000
  • U.S. Patent #5,989,511: Smooth Diamond Films as Low Friction, Long Wear Surfaces, 1999
  • U.S. Patent #5,840,132: Lubricated Boride Surfaces, 1998
  • U.S. Patent #5,431,830: Lubrication from Mixture of Boric Acid with Oils and Greases, 1995