Friction regimes of water-lubricated diamond (111): Role of interfacial ether groups and tribo-induced aromatic surface reconstructions
Large-scale quantum molecular dynamics of water-lubricated diamond (111) surfaces in sliding contact reveals multiple friction regimes. While water starvation causes amorphization of the tribological interface, small H2O traces are sufficient to preserve crystallinity. This can result in high friction due to cold welding via ether groups or in ultralow friction due to aromatic surface passivation triggered by tribo-induced Pandey reconstruction. At higher water coverage, Grotthuss-type diffusion and H2O dissociation yield dense H=OH surface passivation leading to another ultralow friction regime.