Nonmonotonic Effects of Atomic Vacancy Defects on Friction

LA Zhang and WB Chen and XF Tan and JG Jiao and D Guo and JB Luo, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 15, 45455-45464 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.3c09257

The presence of defects such as vacancies has a significant impact on the frictional properties of 2D materials that are excellent solid lubricants. In this study, we demonstrate that the nonmonotonic effect of Te vacancy defects on the friction of MoTe2 is related to the change in the maximum sliding energy barrier due to the variation in tip position. The experimental results of atomic force microscopy suggest that the friction shows an overall increasing trend with the increase in Te vacancy density, but this variation is nonmonotonic. Molecular dynamics simulations show that the increase in friction force with defect density can be attributed to the large and more sliding energy barriers that the tip has to overcome. Furthermore, the nonmonotonic variation of friction with defect density is dominated by the change of the maximum sliding potential barrier caused by the variation of tip position perpendicular to the sliding direction during the sliding process. Additionally, the uneven charge distribution due to charge transfer occurring at the defect also contributes to the increase in friction. This work shows the mechanism of the effect of Te vacancy defects on the friction of MoTe2, which provides guidance for the modulation of the frictional properties of solid lubricants.

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