This paper reports an investigation on nanotribological properties of silicon nanochannels coated by a diamond-like carbon (DLC) film. The nanochannels were fabricated on Si (100) wafers by using photolithography and reactive ion etching (RIE) techniques. The channeled surfaces (Si channels) were then further modified by coating thin DLC film. Water contact angle of the modified and unmodified Si surfaces was examined by an anglemeter using the sessile-drop method. Nanotribological properties, namely friction and adhesion forces, of the Si channels coated with DLC (DLC-coated Si channels) were investigated in comparison with those of the flat Si, DLC-coated flat Si (flat DLC), and Si channels, using an atomic force microscope (AFM). Results showed that the DLC-coated Si channels greatly increased hydrophobicity of silicon surfaces. The DLC coating and Si channels themselves individually reduced adhesion and friction forces of the flat Si. Further, the DLC-coated Si channels exhibited the lowest values of these forces, owing to the combined effect of reduced contact area through the channeling and low surface energy of the DLC. This combined modification could prove a promising method for tribological applications at small scales.
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