Understanding the interfacial properties between an atomic layer and its substrate is of key interest at both the fundamental and technological levels. From Fermi level pinning to strain engineering and superlubricity, the interaction between a single atomic layer and its substrate governs electronic, mechanical and chemical properties. Here, we measure the hardly accessible interfacial transverse shear modulus of an atomic layer on a substrate. By performing measurements on bulk graphite, and on epitaxial graphene films on SiC with different stacking orders and twisting, as well as in the presence of intercalated hydrogen, we find that the interfacial transverse shear modulus is critically controlled by the stacking order and the atomic layer–substrate interaction. Importantly, we demonstrate that this modulus is a pivotal measurable property to control and predict sliding friction in supported two-dimensional materials. The experiments demonstrate a reciprocal relationship between friction force per unit contact area and interfacial shear modulus. The same relationship emerges from simulations with simple friction models, where the atomic layer–substrate interaction controls the shear stiffness and therefore the resulting friction dissipation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering