Scanning force microscope observations of particle detachment from substrates: The role of water vapor in tribological debonding

R. F. Hariadi, S. C. Langford, J. T. Dickinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


The tip of a scanning force microscope was used to detach nanometer-scale, single crystal NaCl particles from a glass substrate under controlled atmospheres of known humidity. After characterizing a particle at low contact force, a single line scan at high contact force was used to apply stresses to the attached particle. The lateral force during the line scan showed a sharp discontinuity associated with detachment of the particle from the substrate. The peak lateral force during this procedure is a strong function of particle contact area and humidity. As the relative humidity is raised from low values, the strength of the particle-substrate bond decreases dramatically. We interpret these results in terms of detachment by chemically assisted crack growth along the NaCl-glass interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4885-4891
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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