Atomistic simulation of frictional anisotropy on quasicrystal approximant surfaces

ZJ Ye and A Martini and P Thiel and HH Lovelady and K McLaughlin and DA Rabson, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 93, 235438 (2016).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.93.235438

J. Y. Park et al. Science 309, 1354 (2005) have reported eight times greater atomic-scale friction in the periodic than in the quasiperiodic direction on the twofold face of a decagonal Al-Ni-Co quasicrystal. We present results of molecular-dynamics simulations intended to elucidate mechanisms behind this giant frictional anisotropy. Simulations of a bare atomic-force-microscope tip on several model substrates and under a variety of conditions failed to reproduce experimental results. On the other hand, including the experimental passivation of the tip with chains of hexadecane thiol, we reproduce qualitatively the experimental anisotropy in friction, finding evidence for entrainment of the organic chains in surface furrows parallel to the periodic direction.

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