Material Transfer and Polarity Reversal in Contact Charging


  • This work was supported by the Non-equilibrium Energy Research Center (NERC) which is an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under award number DE-SC0000989. We thank Bruker for supplying PeakForce QNM software. XPS and Raman spectra were taken in KECK-II and BIF facilities at NU. H.T.B. and B.B. contributed equally to this work.


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In touch: The outcome of contact electrification between dielectrics depends not only on the transfer of charge but also on the transfer of material (see picture). Although only minute quantities of materials are being exchanged during contact, they can reverse the polarity of dielectrics. The reported results corroborate the mosaic model and suggest that the observations are because of the mechanical softness/hardness of the materials.