Multiple atom stick-slip motion in Friction Force Microscopy

William Conley, Purdue University

Friction force microscopy (FFM) enables the unprecedented measurement of friction at the nanoscale. It is known that when FFM microcantilevers are dragged across a surface, the nanoscale tip executes stick-slip motions as the tip “plucks” across individual atoms on the surface. Tomlinson’s model is usually used to explain these effects. In what follows we investigate the effects of tip compliance on the stick-slip motions in FFM. Results are predicted describing the transition from steady sliding to single and multiple atom stick-slip. Additionally, the effect of these different motions on the average frictional force is calculated.

Abstract Author(s): W.G. Conley, C.M. Krousgrill, A. Raman