The research field of tribology, devoted to contact formation, friction and wear phenomena down to the atomic scale, is of direct and pressing relevance to the manufacture of semiconductor devices. Friction-induced stresses and deformations on the scale of only a few atomic spacings challenge the future of nanolithography technology, limiting the achievable feature size in semiconductor chips.
The research activities of the Contact Dynamics group focus on developing a fundamental understanding of friction mechanisms and how to manipulate them. The basic research questions that underpin our research are:
What are the origins of friction variability and (time-dependent) changes, as affected by wear phenomena and the generation and dynamic behaviour of wear particles?
How can changes in friction be influenced?
How can friction be controlled on demand by switching between high and low friction?