First-principles study of superlow friction between hydrogenated diamond surfaces
Attractive interaction between two clean diamond(001) slabs turns repulsive upon the hydrogenation of surfaces. Even under high loading forces, this repulsive interaction prevents the sliding surfaces from being closer to each other. As a result, calculated lateral force variation generated during sliding has small magnitude under high constant loading forces. Superlow friction observed earlier between diamond like carbon coated surfaces can be understood by the steady repulsive interaction between sliding surfaces, as well as strong and stiff carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bonds which do not favor energy dissipation. In ambient conditions, the steady repulsive interaction is, however, destroyed by oxygenation of hydrogenated surface.