Triboemission of hydrocarbon molecules from diamond-like carbon friction interface induces atomic-scale wear

Yang Wang, Naohiro Yamada, Jingxiang Xu, Jing Zhang, Qian Chen, Yusuke Ootani, Yuji Higuchi, Nobuki Ozawa, Maria Isabel De Barros Bouchet, Jean Michel Martin, Shigeyuki Mori, Koshi Adachi, Momoji Kubo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding atomic-scale wear is crucial to avoid device failure. Atomic-scale wear differs from macroscale wear because chemical reactions and interactions at the friction interface are dominant in atomic-scale tribological behaviors, instead of macroscale properties, such as material strength and hardness. It is particularly challenging to reveal interfacial reactions and atomic-scale wear mechanisms. Here, our operando friction experiments with hydrogenated diamond-like carbon (DLC) in vacuum demonstrate the triboemission of various hydrocarbon molecules from the DLC friction interface, indicating its atomic-scale chemical wear. Furthermore, our reactive molecular dynamics simulations reveal that this triboemission of hydrocarbon molecules induces the atomic-scale mechanical wear of DLC. As the hydrogen concentration in hydrogenated DLC increases, the chemical wear increases while mechanical wear decreases, indicating an opposite effect of hydrogen concentration on chemical and mechanical wear. Consequently, the total wear shows a concave hydrogen concentration dependence, with an optimal hydrogen concentration for wear reduction of around 20%.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaax9301
JournalScience advances
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 15


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