Universiteit Leiden

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The origins of friction and the growth of graphene, investigated at the atomic scale

Promotor: J.W.M. Frenken

Dirk van Baarle
29 november 2016
Thesis in Leiden Repository

This work covers two closely related topics: a theoretical study on the origins of friction and an experimental study on the growth of graphene. Both fundamental studies are focusing on the atomic processes involved. The study on friction treats the dissipation that takes places at one single friction contact. We show that the current explanations result in a discrepancy that we solve by evalutation of the mass involved: this mass is orders of magnitude smallar than assumed. The very small and dynamic mass at a friction contact forms an efficient channel of dissipation. This explanation allows us to understand and predict the friction behavior of surfaces at both the small and large scale. The study of graphene growth investigates the growth process of graphene at the atomic scale with a Scannning Tunneling Microscope in situ. We use our high- and, variable-temperature STM to determine the lowest nucleation temperature of graphene on Ir(111). Additionaly, individual steps that follow up each other during growth are clarified and presented. The graphene film closure is studied as well, which showed that graphene introduces internal strain in order to prevent local lattice defects. Our results are important for the improvement of the quality of graphene.