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Sliding on a Nanotube: Interplay of Friction, Deformations and Structure

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The frictional properties of individual carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are studied by sliding an atomic force microscopy tip across and along its principle axis. This direction-dependent frictional behavior is found to correlate strongly with the presence of structural defects, surface chemistry, and CNT chirality. This study shows that it is experimentally possible to tune the frictional/adhesion properties of a CNT by controlling the CNT structure and surface chemistry, as well as use friction force to predict its structural and chemical properties.

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