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Advanced Materials

Toward the Ultimate Tribological Interface: Surface Chemistry and Nanotribology of Ultrananocrystalline Diamond


  • We gratefully acknowledge Prof. R. J. Hamers and Wensha Yang for use and assistance with the hydrogen plasma system. We gratefully acknowledge X. Xiao and J. Wang for useful discussions and input on the seeding and growth process, Prof. S. Urquhart for guidance and access to the NEXAFS system, and Dr. Suresh Varagali of Diamond Innovations for the diamond single crystal. NEXAFS was performed at the UW Synchrotron Radiation Center (supported by NSF grant DMR 0084402). The PEEM experiments were performed using the Canadian Photoelectron emission microscope which was funded by a NSERC Major Installation grant. R. W. C. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation CAREER Program, grant #CMS-0134571, and from the Department of Energy, grant #DE-FG02-02ER46016. Work at Argonne National Labs was supported by the US Department of Energy, BES-Materials Sciences, under Contract W-13-109-ENG-38. We acknowledge support from DARPA-DSO under grant #03000Z03258. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.


Ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) may offer a solution to tribological failure of silicon-based micromachines because of its outstanding mechanical properties. The first measurements of nanometer-scale adhesion and friction on the tribologically relevant underside of UNCD films (see Figure) are reported, revealing that the UNCD films are far less adhesive than silicon and confirming their potential for use in micro- and nanomachines.

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