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Title: Switchable friction enabled by nanoscale self-assembly on graphene

Graphene monolayers are known to display domains of anisotropic friction with twofold symmetry and anisotropy exceeding 200%. This anisotropy has been thought to originate from periodic nanoscale ripples in the graphene sheet, which enhance puckering around a sliding asperity to a degree determined by the sliding direction. Here we demonstrate that these frictional domains derive not from structural features in the graphene but from self-assembly of environmental adsorbates into a highly regular superlattice of stripes with period 4–6 nm. The stripes and resulting frictional domains appear on monolayer and multilayer graphene on a variety of substrates, as well as on exfoliated flakes of hexagonal boron nitride. We show that the stripe-superlattices can be reproducibly and reversibly manipulated with submicrometre precision using a scanning probe microscope, allowing us to create arbitrary arrangements of frictional domains within a single flake. In conclusion, our results suggest a revised understanding of the anisotropic friction observed on graphene and bulk graphite in terms of adsorbates.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [5] ;  [1]
  1. Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Dept. of Physics
  2. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Dept. of Physics; Appalachian State Univ., Boone, NC (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS)
  4. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China). Inst. of Physics
  5. National Inst. for Materials Science (NIMS), Tsukuba (Japan)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FA9550-12-1-02520; PHY-0830228; 2013CB934500; 61325021; 25106006; 91223204; 262480621; AC05-00OR22725; XDB07010100
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; US Air Force Office of Science Research (AFOSR); National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC); US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR); National Science Foundation (NSF); National Basic Research Program of China; Chinese Academy of Sciences; Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; anisotropy; friction; graphine
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1325467