Interfaces in Contact and Motion

Tribology, interfacial rheology, adhesion and long-range surface forces are the fields of science covered in this area. We have the competence and instrumentation to probe interfacial architecture and interactions during contact and motion at the nanoscale using numerous techniques while also being able to relate these nanoscale measurements to macroscopic performance in a variety of industrial contexts.


Research focus is on the relationship between molecular diffusion/molecular architecture (at surfaces) and surface interactions related to tribological, surface rheological and adhesion properties.

Research and Development

While theories of friction, lubrication, wear and adhesion are reasonably well established in clean systems and in vacuo between smooth surfaces, phenomena such as superlubricity, adhesion hysteresis and stimuli-triggered changes in frictional properties are not well understood. To this end, ourresearchers have recently demonstrated super-lubrication and offered a predictive model based on repulsive van der Waals forces.

We intend to test the fundamental aspects of this theory further with more extensive experiments, with an ultimate view to a platform of applications across a variety of industrial sectors. Investigations into the fundamentals of biotribology, bioadhesion and lubricating properties of complex solutions are be given priority. These studies interrelates measures of perception with macro- and nanoscopic measures with various applications. Production of biomimetic surfaces is a natural outcome, and so besides skin, hair and cotton YKI also investigates the nature of the Lotus effect and the Gecko-feet effect.

Research within the Interfaces in Contact and Motion area include
  • Tests of the breadth and depth of superlubrication due to repulsive van der Waals forces.
  • Systematically examination of the air-water interface surface rheology, together with experiments to correlate with phenomena such as film stability and membrane structure aimed particularly at understanding how drug and other actives interact with biomembranes.
  • Studies on the role of particles and nanoparticles in lubrication and friction.
  • Development of methods to prepare surface coatings with stimuli-triggered changes in friction properties.
  • Development of understanding of the correlation between structures of self-assembled layers from complex solutions and their lubrication properties.

SP Chemistry, Materials and Surfaces, Box 5607, SE-114 86 Stockholm, Sweden Phone +46 10 516 5000, E-mail