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External Control of Liquid Nanofilms for Switchable Friction and Adhesion

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "LIQUISWITCH" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: OXFORD
postcode: OX1 2JD

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙492˙828 €
 EC max contribution 1˙492˙828 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-04-01   to  2021-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The overall vision of the project is to demonstrate methods for switching friction and adhesion – such as “switch off friction” or “switch on adhesion” – reversibly and with remote control. My hypothesis is that fluids confined to nanofilms between solid objects can be designed to dramatically alter their surface properties under the influence of applied fields, and so can be used to switch friction, lubrication or adhesion in a controlled and reversible way. The emphasis of the project is on creating well-defined model experiments, with high resolution in both film thickness and interaction forces, in order to reach a fundamental understanding of the new concepts and mechanisms involved. The novelty lies in both the newly-proposed mechanisms of switching friction and adhesion interactions, and the new instrumentation constructed to detect and analyse the forces. The new methodologies necessary for these pioneering experiments involve two new versions of a Surface Force Balance (SFB) providing molecular-resolution (0.1nm) control and measurement of interfacial liquid films, controlled application of electric and magnetic fields, and ultra-sensitive measurement of friction and adhesion. Notably, one of these new instruments will have macroscopic graphene electrodes for confinement of liquid nanofilms (0 – 100nm) between atomically smooth electrodes. The wide range of ‘switchable’ liquids studied will include polyelectrolytes, magnetic fluids, ionic liquids and self-assembled systems. Ultimately, this project will change the way we think about surface interactions into something we can ‘switch and control’.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Romain Lhermerout, Christophe Diederichs, Susan Perkin
Are Ionic Liquids Good Boundary Lubricants? A Molecular Perspective
published pages: 9, ISSN: 2075-4442, DOI: 10.3390/lubricants6010009
Lubricants 6/1 2019-04-18
2017 Matthew A. Gebbie, Alexander M. Smith, Howard A. Dobbs, Alpha A. Lee, Gregory G. Warr, Xavier Banquy, Markus Valtiner, Mark W. Rutland, Jacob N. Israelachvili, Susan Perkin, Rob Atkin
Long range electrostatic forces in ionic liquids
published pages: 1214-1224, ISSN: 1359-7345, DOI: 10.1039/C6CC08820A
Chemical Communications 53/7 2019-04-18
2018 Adilson Alves de Freitas, Karina Shimizu, Alexander M. Smith, Susan Perkin, José Nuno Canongia Lopes
Structure and dynamics of mica-confined films of [C 10 C 1 Pyrr][NTf 2 ] ionic liquid
published pages: 193808, ISSN: 0021-9606, DOI: 10.1063/1.5007809
The Journal of Chemical Physics 148/19 2019-04-18
2018 Samuel W. Coles, Alexander M. Smith, Maxim V. Fedorov, Florian Hausen, Susan Perkin
Interfacial structure and structural forces in mixtures of ionic liquid with a polar solvent
published pages: 427-442, ISSN: 1359-6640, DOI: 10.1039/C7FD00168A
Faraday Discussions 206 2019-04-18
2017 Alexander M. Smith, Alpha A. Lee, Susan Perkin
Switching the Structural Force in Ionic Liquid-Solvent Mixtures by Varying Composition
published pages: , ISSN: 0031-9007, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.096002
Physical Review Letters 118/9 2019-04-18
2016 Alexander M. Smith, Alpha A. Lee, Susan Perkin
The Electrostatic Screening Length in Concentrated Electrolytes Increases with Concentration
published pages: 2157-2163, ISSN: 1948-7185, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b00867
The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 7/12 2019-04-18
2017 Marco Balabajew, Christian D. van Engers, Susan Perkin
Contact-free calibration of an asymmetric multi-layer interferometer for the surface force balance
published pages: 123903, ISSN: 0034-6748, DOI: 10.1063/1.5006056
Review of Scientific Instruments 88/12 2019-04-18
2018 Bruno Zappone, Weichao Zheng, Susan Perkin
Multiple-beam optical interferometry of anisotropic soft materials nanoconfined with the surface force apparatus
published pages: 85112, ISSN: 0034-6748, DOI: 10.1063/1.5038951
Review of Scientific Instruments 89/8 2019-04-18
2017 Alpha A. Lee, Carla S. Perez-Martinez, Alexander M. Smith, Susan Perkin
Scaling Analysis of the Screening Length in Concentrated Electrolytes
published pages: , ISSN: 0031-9007, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.026002
Physical Review Letters 119/2 2019-04-18
2017 Samuel W. Coles, Maksim Mishin, Susan Perkin, Maxim V. Fedorov, Vladislav B. Ivaništšev
The nanostructure of a lithium glyme solvate ionic liquid at electrified interfaces
published pages: 11004-11010, ISSN: 1463-9076, DOI: 10.1039/C7CP00837F
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 19/18 2019-04-18
2016 Alpha A. Lee, Susan Perkin
Ion–Image Interactions and Phase Transition at Electrolyte–Metal Interfaces
published pages: 2753-2757, ISSN: 1948-7185, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b01324
The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 7/14 2019-04-18
2017 Lucy R. Griffin, Kathryn L. Browning, Stuart M. Clarke, Alexander M. Smith, Susan Perkin, M. W. A. Skoda, Sarah E. Norman
Direct measurements of ionic liquid layering at a single mica–liquid interface and in nano-films between two mica–liquid interfaces
published pages: 297-304, ISSN: 1463-9076, DOI: 10.1039/C6CP05757H
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 19/1 2019-04-18
2018 Romain Lhermerout, Susan Perkin
Nanoconfined ionic liquids: Disentangling electrostatic and viscous forces
published pages: , ISSN: 2469-990X, DOI: 10.1103/physrevfluids.3.014201
Physical Review Fluids 3/1 2019-04-18
2017 Alpha A. Lee, Carla S. Perez-Martinez, Alexander M. Smith, Susan Perkin
Underscreening in concentrated electrolytes
published pages: 239-259, ISSN: 1359-6640, DOI: 10.1039/C6FD00250A
Faraday Discussions 199 2019-04-18
2017 Christian D. van Engers, Nico E. A. Cousens, Vitaliy Babenko, Jude Britton, Bruno Zappone, Nicole Grobert, Susan Perkin
Direct Measurement of the Surface Energy of Graphene
published pages: 3815-3821, ISSN: 1530-6984, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b01181
Nano Letters 17/6 2019-04-18

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