Nanotribology and Nanofabrication of MoO3 Structures by Atomic Force Microscopy

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Science  24 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5265, pp. 1158-1161
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5265.1158


Atomic force microscopy was used to characterize the sliding of molybdenum oxide (MoO3) nanocrystals on single-crystal molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) surfaces. Highly anisotropic friction was observed whereby MoO3 nanocrystals moved only along specific directions of the MoS2 surface lattice. The energy per unit area to move the MoO3 nanocrystals along their preferred sliding direction was an order of magnitude less than required to slide macroscopic MoS2-bearing contacts. This extreme friction anisotropy was exploited to fabricate multicomponent MoO3 nanostructures. These reversibly interlocking structures could serve as the basis for devices such as mechanical logic gates.