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Measurement of single-molecule frictional dissipation in a prototypical nanoscale system

Hedgeland, H; Fouquet, P; Jardine, AP; Alexandrowicz, G; Allison, W; Ellis, J; (2009) Measurement of single-molecule frictional dissipation in a prototypical nanoscale system. Nature Physics , 5 (8) pp. 561-564. 10.1038/nphys1335.

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Abstract

Fast-moving nanoscale systems offer the tantalizing possibility for rapid processing of materials, energy or information. Frictional forces can easily dominate the motion of these systems, yet whereas nanomechanical techniques, such as atomic force microscopy, are widely used to measure static nanoscale friction, they are too slow to measure the kinetic friction crucial for short-timescale motion. Here, we report measurements of frictional damping for a prototypical nanoscale system: benzene on a graphite surface, driven by thermal motion. Spin-echo spectroscopy is used to measure the picosecond time dependence of the motion of single benzene molecules, indicating a type of atomic-scale continuous Brownian motion not previously observed. Quantifying the frictional coupling between moving molecules and the surface, as achieved in these measurements, is important for the characterization of phononically driven nanomechanical tools. The data also provide a benchmark for simulations of nanoscale kinetic friction and demonstrate the applicability of the spin-echo technique. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Type: Article
Title: Measurement of single-molecule frictional dissipation in a prototypical nanoscale system
DOI: 10.1038/nphys1335
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > London Centre for Nanotechnology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1448096
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