Friction is often seen as an adverse phenomenon that leads to wear and causes energy loss. Conversely, however, too little friction can be a disadvantage as well - for example, running on an icy surface or driving on a wet road.
An understanding of frictional effects is therefore of great importance - particularly in the field of nanotechnology, where friction has to be controlled at a nanoscale. A recent study conducted by researchers from the
In the experiment led by Prof. Dr.
Energy losses in the vicinity of charge density waves
The researchers registered very high energy losses in the vicinity of these charge density waves between the surface and the tip of the atomic force microscope, even at relatively large distances of several atomic diameters. "The energy drop was so great, it was as if the tip had suddenly been caught in a viscous fluid," says Meyer.
The team observed this energy loss only at temperatures below 70° Kelvin (-203° C). Since charge density waves do not occur at higher temperatures, it interpreted this as evidence that frictional forces between the probe tip and charge density waves are the cause of the energy loss.
The theoretical model shows that the high energy loss results from a series of local phase shifts in the charge density waves. This newly discovered phenomenon may be of practical significance in the field of nanotechnology, particularly as the frictional effect can be modulated as a function of distance and voltage.
Keywords for this news article include: Nanoscale, Nanotechnology,
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