Efforts to miniaturise optical, electrical and mechanical components have been ongoing for several decades. Development of processing technologies for semiconductors, actuators, microprocessors, sensors, mechatronics, etc. has revolutionised technologies for MEMS, smart structures, micro pumps, micro engines, micro biomedical devices etc. These devices have the ability to sense, detect, compute and activate in real time. These micro components have a very high surface to volume ratio. The forces applied to such systems are quite low, meaning that surface forces play a dominant role. However, as the sizes of such systems are quite low, the contact pressure is estimated to be few hundred MPa. Such forces cause undesirable effects such as stiction and high friction leading to reduction of operational reliability. It is for these devices that nanotribology and nanoindentation become relevant.
Nanotribology, which deals with the friction, wear and lubrication of interacting surfaces in relative motion at the nanometer scale, has seen considerable advances in recent times. Many phenomena in nanotribology pose new challenges in concept as well as in practice. Although conventional tribology is well established, nanoindentation, nanomechanics and nanotribology are evolving rapidly. With the invention of probe-based microscopes and nanoindentation techniques, study of nanomechanical properties and nanotribology has quickly become a routine laboratory testing method for characterizing material surfaces and coatings for miniaturised systems.
The purpose of this special issue is therefore to present a collection of examples illustrating the state-of-the-art developments of nanoindentation, nanotribology and their applications to surface science and engineering research. To serve as a useful forum to discuss the capabilities and limitations of these technologies, the scope of this special issue is to be as broad as possible, covering all relevant aspects.
Topics covered by this special issue include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Theory and modelling of nanoindentation
- Nanoindentation to characterize mechanical properties of materials and coatings
- Nanoindentation techniques
- Nanotribology experiments and theory;
- Nanoscale analysis of wear mechanisms,
- Nanoscale wear measurement,
- Nanotribology of magnetic recording system
- Nanotribology of MEMS
Submission of papers: 30 June 2010