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Vanishing friction

A new technique tunes friction between two surfaces, to the point where friction can vanish. MIT researchers developed a frictional interface at the atomic level. The blue corrugated surface represents an optical lattice; the red balls represent ions; the springs between them represent Coulomb forces between ions. By tuning the spacing of the ion crystal surface above to mismatch the bottom corrugated surface, friction disappears. The ions smoothly slide along the surface in a caterpillar-like motion. This discovery could aid in developing nanomachines, built from components the size of single molecules.  Illustration: Christine Daniloff/MIT

In tuning friction to the point where it disappears, technique could boost development of nanomachines. « more »

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Vanishing friction (MIT News)

Prof. Vladan Vuletic