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Comment
. 2019 Dec 3;116(49):24386-24387.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1918084116. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Tunable Superlubricity of 2-dimensional Materials

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Tunable Superlubricity of 2-dimensional Materials

Daniel Bonn et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .
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Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interest.

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Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Two-dimensional materials can be so slippery that one could skate on them. Zhang et al. (2) report a friction coefficient as low as 0.007 for an AFM tip on freely suspended graphene and show that it decreases to almost 0.001 when the graphene is stretched. For comparison, friction coefficients for AFM tips on 3D materials are usually above 0.1, while the optimal friction coefficient for a steel skate on ice is ∼0.01 (8). The low friction that Zhang et al. report on graphene is largely due to the weakness of the interaction between the graphene and the tip. By stretching the graphene, they suppress the freedom of the graphene to locally follow the precise contour of the tip surface and deform internally, to make individual carbon atoms of the graphene optimize their registry with respect to the tip atoms. This leads to a dramatic further lowering of the friction and introduces the exciting possibility of making friction tunable.

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