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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Apr 21;96(15):156103. Epub 2006 Apr 20.

Dielectric fluctuations and the origins of noncontact friction.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-1301, USA.

Erratum in

  • Phys Rev Lett. 2006 May 5;96(17):179902.

Abstract

Dielectric fluctuations underlie a wide variety of physical phenomena, from ion mobility in electrolyte solutions and decoherence in quantum systems to dynamics in glass-forming materials and conformational changes in proteins. Here we show that dielectric fluctuations also lead to noncontact friction. Using high sensitivity, custom fabricated, single crystal silicon cantilevers we measure energy losses over poly(methyl methacrylate), poly(vinyl acetate), and polystyrene thin films. A new theoretical analysis, relating noncontact friction to the dielectric response of the film, is consistent with our experimental observations. This work constitutes the first direct, mechanical detection of noncontact friction due to dielectric fluctuations.

PMID:
16712172
PMCID:
PMC1941717
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.156103
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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