Monolayers to lubricate the next generation of nanomachinery

New nano-coatings for oxides such as metal oxides, silicon oxide, and glass have applications in lubrication and wear protection for microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical devices. The Maurer Lab at Washington University in St. Louis has now developed a new class of self-assembled monolayers using arsonic acid, inspired by the phosphonate class of monomers.

Similar to classical phosphonate monolayers, arsonate monolayers are reactive towards titanium oxide and silicon oxide substrates. Interestingly, the arsonate monolayers are also formed on glass where phosphonates are unreactive. The research team of Natalie LaFranzo and co-workers characterized the wear protection potential of their arsonate monolayers using nanoscratching and demonstrated that these monolayers protect the surfaces within the micronewton force regime. This robust coating is formed using a simple soaking method, and shows promise as a microelectromechanical device coating for anti-friction and wear.

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