Tribological Durability of Silane Monolayers on Silicon

BD Booth and SG Vilt and J Ben Lewis and JL Rivera and EA Buehler and C McCabe and GK Jennings, LANGMUIR, 27, 5909-5917 (2011).

DOI: 10.1021/la104778q

We report the frictional performance and long-term tribological stability of various alkyl silane monolayer films on silicon by using pin-on-disk tribometry at ambient conditions. We show that the durability of monolayers derived from n-alkyltrichlorosilanes on silicon increases exponentially with the cohesive energy of these monolayers through molecular the chain length of the silane precursor, which we relate to dynamics simulations. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was used to show that tribological damage consisted of the loss of molecular components that could be partially replaced upon exposure to a solution containing perfluorinated silane precursors. For monolayers derived from n-octadecyltrichlorosilane, a critical load was identified to be approximately 250 mN (200 MPa), above which failure of films occurred within 100 cycle of testing. Monolayers with hydroxyl surfaces exhibited reduced stabilities due to stronger tip-surface interactions. Monolayers with the capability for cross-linking exhibited much greater stabilities than monolayers where cross-linking was limited or prevented. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the mechanical durability of monolayers when subjected to a tribological load is greatly enhanced by maximizing dispersional interactions and cross- linking and minimizing tip-surface interactions.

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