Structure and Low-temperature Tribology of Lubricious Nanocrystalline ZnO/Al2O3 Nanolaminates and ZrO2 Monofilms Grown by Atomic Layer Deposition
Description: Currently available solid lubricants only perform well under a limited range of environmental conditions. Unlike them, oxides are thermodynamically stable and relatively inert over a broad range of temperatures and environments. However, conventional oxides are brittle at normal temperatures; exhibiting significant plasticity only at high temperatures (>0.5Tmelting). This prevents oxides' use in tribological applications at low temperatures. If oxides can be made lubricious at low temperatures, they would be excellent solid lubricants for a wide range of conditions. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a growth technique capable of depositing highly uniform and conformal films in challenging applications that have buried surfaces and high-aspect-ratio features such as microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices where the need for robust solid lubricants is sometimes necessary. This dissertation investigates the surface and subsurface characteristics of ALD-grown ZnO/Al2O3 nanolaminates and ZrO2 monofilms before and after sliding at room temperature. Significant enhancement in friction and wear performance was observed for some films. HRSEM/FIB, HRTEM and ancillary techniques (i.e. SAED, EELS) were used to determine the mechanisms responsible for this enhancement. Contributory characteristics and energy dissipation modes were identified that promote low-temperature lubricity in both material systems.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Romanes, Maia Castillo