Audio / Video

What does the Golden Ratio have to do with friction? An answer atom by atom

  • 00:48:26


Friction is the basic, ubiquitous mechanical interaction between two surfaces that results in resistance to motion and energy dissipation. To test long-standing atomistic models of friction processes at the nanoscale, we implemented a synthetic nanofriction interface using laser cooled ions subject to the periodic potential of an optical standing wave. We show that stick-slip friction can be tuned from maximal to nearly frictionless via arrangement of the ions relative to the periodic potential, and that friction at the nanoscale can substantially differ from the simple phenomenological laws observed at the macroscale. We also establish a direct link between Aubry’s structural transition for an infinite chain in an incommensurate periodic potential, and the vanishing of friction in nanocontacts.



What does the Golden Ratio have to do with friction? An answer atom by atom


University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Physics


Berkeley, CA, University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Physics, November 30, 2015

Full Collection Name

Physics Colloquia






1 streaming video file

Other Physical Details

digital, sd., col.


Physics Library


Recorded at a colloquium held on November 30, 2015, sponsored by the Dept. of Physics, University of California, Berkeley.

originally produced as an .mts file in 2016

Speakers: Vuletic, Vladan.

Usage Statement

Researchers may make free and open use of the UC Berkeley Library’s digitized public domain materials. However, some materials in our online collections may be protected by U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Use or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use (Title 17, U.S.C. § 107) requires permission from the copyright owners. The use or reproduction of some materials may also be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, privacy and publicity rights, or trademark law. Responsibility for determining rights status and permissibility of any use or reproduction rests exclusively with the researcher. To learn more or make inquiries, please see our permissions policies (


Physics Colloquia


colloquia/11-30-15Vuletic.mp4 00:48:26

Linked Resources

View record in Digital Collections.