5 years ago

Tribochemical Wear of Diamond-Like Carbon-Coated Atomic Force Microscope Tips

Tribochemical Wear of Diamond-Like Carbon-Coated Atomic Force Microscope Tips
Yijie Jiang, Michael L. Falk, Tevis D. B. Jacobs, Kumar Sridharan, Kevin T. Turner, Robert W. Carpick, Jingjing Liu, Yuchong Shao, David S. Grierson
Nanoscale wear is a critical issue that limits the performance of tip-based nanomanufacturing and nanometrology processes based on atomic force microscopy (AFM). Yet, a full scientific understanding of nanoscale wear processes remains in its infancy. It is therefore important to quantitatively understand the wear behavior of AFM tips. Tip wear is complex to understand due to adhesive forces and contact stresses that change substantially as the contact geometry evolves due to wear. Here, we present systematic characterization of the wear of commercial Si AFM tips coated with thin diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings. Wear of DLC was measured as a function of external loading and sliding distance. Transmission electron microscopy imaging, AFM-based adhesion measurements, and tip geometry estimation via inverse imaging were used to assess nanoscale wear and the contact conditions over the course of the wear tests. Gradual wear of DLC with sliding was observed in the experiments, and the tips evolved from initial paraboloidal shapes to flattened geometries. The wear rate is observed to increase with the average contact stress, but does not follow the classical wear law of Archard. A wear model based on the transition state theory, which gives an Arrhenius relationship between wear rate and normal stress, fits the experimental data well for low mean contact stresses (<0.3 GPa), yet it fails to describe the wear at higher stresses. The wear behavior over the full range of stresses is well described by a recently proposed multibond wear model that exhibits a change from Archard-like behavior at high stresses to a transition state theory description at lower stresses.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b08026

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b08026

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