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Simulations of Friction Anisotropy on Self-Assembled Monolayers in Water.

  • Author(s): Ahmad, Khurshid;
  • Yang, Quanpeng;
  • Martini, Ashlie
  • et al.

Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to study nanoscale friction on hydrophilic and hydrophobic self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) immersed in water. Sliding was simulated in two different directions to capture anisotropy due to the direction of motion relative to the inherent tilted orientation of the molecules. It was shown that friction depends on both hydrophobicity and sliding direction, with the highest friction observed for sliding on hydrophobic SAM in the direction against the initial orientation of the molecules. The origins of the friction trends were analyzed by differentiating the tip-SAM and tip-water force contributions to friction. The tip-water force was higher on the hydrophilic SAM, and this was shown to be due to the presence of a dense layer of water adjacent to the surface and hydrogen bonding. In contrast, the tip-SAM force was higher on the hydrophobic SAM due to a water depletion layer, which enabled the tip to be closer to the SAM terminal group. The higher-friction cases all exhibited greater penetration of the tip below the surface of the SAM, accommodated by further tilting and reorientation of the SAM molecules.

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