Spotlight on friction

Published on January 23, 2023
Category Contact Dynamics

Feng-Chun Hsia and Bart Weber (ARCNL Contact Dynamics group) contributed to a recently published paper in Physical Review Letters. The paper about the role of water in friction processes was highlighted by two scientific news platforms: the Dutch language magazine and website De Ingenieur and the online Physics platform.

Caption: Schematic representation of the silicon-on-silicon friction experiment including topography maps of the ball (left) and wafer (right) surfaces (credit Liang Peng, UvA)

At first sight people expect that adding water will smoothen processes and therefore lessen friction. In a collaboration between ARCNL and UvA, the researchers looked at the molecular processes and learned that this expectation is not always correct; the addition of small amounts of water to interfaces can increase friction through the hydrogen bond networks that form between the water molecules and the sliding surfaces. The insights contribute to a better understanding of the impact of friction on positioning accuracy in nanolithography processes in the semiconductor industry.