Effects of defects on friction for a Xe film sliding on Ag(111)

M. S. Tomassone, J. B. Sokoloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The effects of a step defect and a random array of point defects (such as vacancies or substitutional impurities) on the force of friction acting on a xenon monolayer film as it slides on a silver (111) substrate are studied by molecular-dynamics simulations and compared with the results of lowest-order perturbation theory in the substrate corrugation potential. For the case of a step, the magnitude and velocity dependence of the friction force are strongly dependent on the direction of sliding respect to the step and the corrugation strength. When the applied force F is perpendicular to the step, the film is pinned for F less than a critical force Fc. Motion of the film along the step, however, is not pinned. Fluctuations in the sliding velocity in time provide evidence of both stick-slip motion and thermally activated creep. Simulations done with a substrate containing a 5% concentration of random point defects for various directions of the applied force show that the film is pinned for the force below a critical value. The critical force, however, is still much lower than the effective inertial force exerted on the film by the oscillations of the substrate in experiments done with a quartz-crystal microbalance (QCM). Lowest-order perturbation theory in the substrate potential is shown to give results consistent with the simulations, and it is used to give a physical picture of what could be expected for real surfaces which contain many defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4005-4017
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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