Flexible Superlubricity Unveiled in Sidewinding Motion of Individual Polymeric Chains

Vilhena, J. G.; Pawlak, Rémy; D’Astolfo, Philipp; Liu, Xunshan; Gnecco, Enrico; Kisiel, Marcin; Glatzel, Thilo; Pérez, Rúben; Häner, Robert; Decurtins, Silvio; Baratoff, Alexis; Prampolini, Giacomo; Liu, Shi-Xia; Meyer, Ernst (2022). Flexible Superlubricity Unveiled in Sidewinding Motion of Individual Polymeric Chains. Physical review letters, 128(21) American Physical Society 10.1103/PhysRevLett.128.216102

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A combination of low temperature atomic force microcopy and molecular dynamic simulations is used to demonstrate that soft designer molecules realize a sidewinding motion when dragged over a gold surface. Exploiting their longitudinal flexibility, pyrenylene chains are indeed able to lower diffusion energy barriers via on-surface directional locking and molecular strain. The resulting ultralow friction reaches values on the order of tens of pN reported so far only for rigid chains sliding on an incommensurate surface. Therefore, we demonstrate how molecular flexibility can be harnessed to realize complex nanomotion while retaining a superlubric character. This is in contrast with the paradigm guiding the design of most superlubric nanocontacts (mismatched rigid contacting surfaces).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Other Institutions > Emeriti, Faculty of Science
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Häner, Robert; Decurtins, Silvio and Liu, Shi-Xia

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry

ISSN:

0031-9007

Publisher:

American Physical Society

Language:

English

Submitter:

Silvio Decurtins

Date Deposited:

07 Jun 2022 16:33

Last Modified:

07 Jun 2022 16:43

Publisher DOI:

10.1103/PhysRevLett.128.216102

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/170314

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/170314

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