Role of transverse displacements for a quantized-velocity state of the lubricant

Castelli, Ivano Eligio
Manini, Nicola
Capozza, Rosario
Vanossi, Andrea
Santoro, Giuseppe E.
Tosatti, Erio
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Within the idealized scheme of a 1-dimensional Frenkel-Kontorova-like model, a special "quantized" sliding state was found for a solid lubricant confined between two periodic layers [PRL 97, 056101 (2006)]. This state, characterized by a nontrivial geometrically fixed ratio of the mean lubricant drift velocity <v_cm> and the externally imposed translational velocity v_ext, was understood as due to the kinks (or solitons), formed by the lubricant due to incommensuracy with one of the substrates, pinning to the other sliding substrate. A quantized sliding state of the same nature is demonstrated here for a substantially less idealized 2-dimensional model, where atoms are allowed to move perpendicularly to the sliding direction and interact via Lennard-Jones potentials. Clear evidence for quantized sliding at finite temperature is provided, even with a confined solid lubricant composed of multiple (up to 6) lubricant layers. Characteristic backward lubricant motion produced by the presence of "anti-kinks" is also shown in this more realistic context.
Comment: 11 pages, 9 figures
Condensed Matter - Materials Science