Super-Slippery Degraded Black Phosphorus/Silicon Dioxide Interface

S. Wu, F. He, G. Xie, Z. Bian, Y. Ren, X. Liu, H. Yang, D. Guo, L. Zhang, S. Wen, and J. Luo

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 12, 7717 (2020)
The interfaces between two-dimensional (2D) materials and the silicon dioxide (SiO2)/silicon (Si) substrate, generally considered as a solid–solid mechanical contact, have been especially emphasized for the structure design and the property optimization in microsystems and nanoengineering. The basic understanding of the interfacial structure and dynamics for 2D material-based systems still remains one of the inevitable challenges ahead. Here, an interfacial mobile water layer is indicated to insert into the interface of the degraded black phosphorus (BP) flake and the SiO2/Si substrate owing to the induced hydroxyl groups during the ambient degradation. A super-slippery degraded BP/SiO2 interface was observed with the interfacial shear stress (ISS) experimentally evaluated as low as 0.029 ± 0.004 MPa, being comparable to the ISS values of incommensurate rigid crystalline contacts. In-depth investigation of the interfacial structure through nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy depth profiling revealed that the interfacial liquid water was responsible for the super-slippery BP/SiO2 interface with extremely low shear stress. This finding clarifies the strong interactions between degraded BP and water molecules, which supports the potential wider applications of the few-layer BP nanomaterial in biological lubrication.