Single atomic contact adhesion and dissipation in dynamic force microscopy.

Abstract

By combining dynamic force microscopy experiments and first-principles calculations, we have studied the adhesion associated with a single atomic contact between a nanoasperity--the tip apex--and a semiconductor surface--the Ge(111)-c(2 x 8). The nanoasperity's termination has been atomically characterized by extensive comparisons of the measured short-range force at specific sites with the chemical forces calculated using many atomic models that vary in structure, composition, and relative orientation with respect to the surface. This thorough characterization has allowed us to explain the dissipation signal observed in atomic-resolution images and force spectroscopic measurements, as well as to identify a dissipation channel and the associated atomic processes.

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