Experimental investigation and molecular dynamics simulations of impact- mode wear mechanisms in silicon micromachines with alkylsilane self- assembled monolayer films

CM Douglas and WA Rouse and JA Driscoll and SJ Timpe, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 118, 165311 (2015).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4934524

In the current work, polycrystalline silicon microdevices are treated with a 1H, 1H, 2H, 2H-Perfluorodecyltrichlorosilane (FDTS) self- assembled monolayer (SAM) film. Using a microelectro-mechanical systems- based tribometer, the adhesion characteristics of the FDTS-treated surfaces are compared to those of untreated surfaces over a range of approximately 10 x 10(6) impact cycles. FDTS-treated surfaces showed a lower zero-hour adhesion force compared to untreated surfaces under identical environmental conditions. The presence of the monolayer did not have a discernible effect on the number of cycles to initiate the surface degradation that was manifested as an increase in the adhesion force. Based on trends in degradation, it is concluded that similar chemical and physical wear mechanisms dominate the evolution of adhesion in both treated and untreated devices. The qualitative results of the experiment are reinforced by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of a single nanoasperity contact coated with an octadecyltrichlorosilane (ODTS) SAM. MD simulations show cleavage of bonds along the aliphatic chains of ODTS resulting in adhesion fluctuations. In agreement with experimental observations, the MD simulation shows a logarithmic increase in adhesion force with increasing number of cycles. MD simulations also predict a logarithmic decrease in adhesion energy with increasing cycles. These results provide insight into the physicohemical changes occurring during repetitive impact of surfaces coated with low surface energy films. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

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