Liquid-Phase Friction of Two-Dimensional Molybdenum Disulfide at the Atomic Scale

Deliang Zhang, Mingzheng Huang, Lasse Hyldgaard Klausen, Qiang Li*, Suzhi Li*, Mingdong Dong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Tribological properties depend strongly on environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and operation liquid. However, the origin of the liquid effect on friction remains largely unexplored. Herein, taking molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) as a model system, we explored the nanoscale friction of MoS2 in polar (water) and nonpolar (dodecane) liquids through friction force microscopy. The friction force exhibits a similar layer-dependent behavior in liquids as in air; i.e., thinner samples have a larger friction force. Interestingly, friction is significantly influenced by the polarity of the liquid, and it is larger in polar water than in nonpolar dodecane. Atomically resolved friction images together with atomistic simulations reveal that the polarity of the liquid has a substantial effect on friction behavior, where liquid molecule arrangement and hydrogen-bond formation lead to a higher resistance in polar water in comparison to that in nonpolar dodecane. This work provides insights into the friction on two-dimensional layered materials in liquids and holds great promise for future low-friction technologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Pages (from-to)21595-21601
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • atomistic simulation
  • friction force microscopy
  • molybdenum disulfide
  • nanoscale friction
  • polar and nonpolar liquids
  • stick−slip motion


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