Magnetene, a 2D material similar to graphene, uses quantum effects to achieve ultra-low friction.

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Magnetene, a 2D material similar to graphene, uses quantum effects to achieve ultra-low friction.

Magnetene could be beneficial in implanted devices and other micro-electro-mechanical systems as a lubricant.

The first measurements of the ultra-low-friction behavior of a material known as magnetene were reported by a team of researchers from the University of Toronto Engineering and Rice University. The findings suggest to ways for developing low-friction materials for a number of applications, including tiny, implanted devices.

Magnetene is a two-dimensional substance, meaning it is made up of only one layer of atoms. In this way, it’s similar to, a material that has been examined extensively since its discovery in 2004 for its remarkable qualities, including ultra-low friction.

“Most 2D materials are created as flat sheets,” explains PhD student Peter Serles, principal author of a new paper published in Science Advances on November 17, 2021.

“The theory was that these graphene sheets had little friction because they are just very weakly connected to each other and slide past each other very readily.” Imagine spreading out a deck of cards: it doesn’t require much effort because the friction between the cards is so low.” Professors Tobin Filleter and Chandra Veer Singh, Post-Doctor Shwetank Yadav, and several current and graduated students from their lab groups decided to put this idea to the test by comparing graphene to other 2D materials.

Magnetene is created from magnetite, a type of iron oxide that generally appears as a 3D lattice, rather than graphene, which is built of carbon. Rice University researchers used high-frequency sound waves to meticulously separate a layer made up of only a few sheets of 2D magnetene in 3D magnetite.

The magnetene sheets were then placed in an atomic force microscope by the University of Toronto Engineering team. To measure the friction, a sharp-tipped probe is dragged over the top of the magnetene sheet in this instrument. The procedure is similar to how a record player’s stylus moves across the surface of a vinyl record.

“The bonds between magnetene layers are far stronger than the bonds between graphene sheets,” Serles explains. “They don’t pass each other by.” The friction between the probe’s tip and the highest slice of magnetene astonished us: it was just as low… Brinkwire News Summary

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