Superlubric to stick-slip sliding of incommensurate graphene flakes on graphite

MM van Wijk and M Dienwiebel and JWM Frenken and A Fasolino, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 88, 235423 (2013).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.88.235423

We calculate the friction of fully mobile graphene flakes sliding on graphite. For incommensurately stacked flakes, we find a sudden and reversible increase in friction with load, in agreement with experimental observations. The transition from smooth sliding to stick- slip and the corresponding increase in friction is neither due to rotations to commensurate contact nor to dislocations but to a pinning caused by vertical distortions of edge atoms also when they are saturated by hydrogen. This behavior should apply to all layered materials with strong in-plane bonding.

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