Superlubric to stick-slip sliding of incommensurate graphene flakes on graphite

  • Author:

    M. M. van Wijk, M. Dienwiebel, J. W. M. Frenken, A. Fasolino

  • Source:

    Phys. Rev. B, 88, (2013), 235423

  • We calculate the friction of fully mobile graphene flakes sliding on graphite. For incommensurately stacked flakes, we find a sudden and reversible increase in friction with load, in agreement with experimental observations. The transition from smooth sliding to stick-slip and the corresponding increase in friction is neither due to rotations to commensurate contact nor to dislocations but to a pinning caused by vertical distortions of edge atoms also when they are saturated by hydrogen. This behavior should apply to all layered materials with strong in-plane bonding.