Origin of friction hysteresis on monolayer graphene

Deliang Zhang, Yuge Zhang, Qiang Li*, Mingdong Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Load-dependent friction hysteresis is an intriguing phenomenon that occurs in many materials, where the friction measured during unloading is larger than that measured during loading for a given normal load. However, the mechanism underlying this behavior is still not well understood. In this work, temperature-controlled friction force microscopy was utilized to explore the origin of friction hysteresis on exfoliated monolayer graphene. The experimental observations show that environmental adsorbates from ambient air play an important role in the load dependence of friction. Specifically, the existence of environmental adsorbates between the tip and graphene surface gives rise to an enhanced tip-graphene adhesion force, which leads to a positive friction hysteresis where the friction force is larger during unloading than during loading. In contrast to positive friction hysteresis, a negative friction hysteresis where the friction force is smaller during unloading than during loading is observed through the removal of the environmental adsorbates upon in situ annealing. It is proposed that the measured friction hysteresis originates from the hysteresis in the contact area caused by environmental adsorbates between the tip and graphene. These findings provide a revised understanding of the friction hysteresis in monolayer graphene in terms of environmental adsorbates. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-582
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • adhesion force
  • environmental adsorbates
  • friction force microscopy
  • friction hysteresis
  • graphene


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