The LSST is involved in research and teaching in numerous areas of surface science and technology, with a special focus on the areas of Tribology, Polymer Brushes, Gradients, Surface Functionalization, Surface Forces, Biointerfaces, Patterning, and Advanced Surface Analysis.
Tribology, the science and engineering of contacts between bodies in relative motion, is a major research theme at LSST. Our activities include studies of lubricant oil additives, where we use surface-analytical approaches to understand the interactions of lubricant oil additives with sliding surfaces, as well as correlating these interactions with tribological properties (friction and wear). We also, as a focus area, study the use of polymer brushes and gels in lubrication, both in aqueous media and in oil. There is a strongly fundamental aspect to this work as well, and we are engaged in molecular dynamics modeling studies, in order to understand the behavior of brushes in lubrication, and the role of crosslinking. We have also looked at the role of polymer brushes on the rheology of granular suspensions. Finally, a major activity over recent years has involved the exploration of ionic liquids as lubricants, in particular how their behavior on a nanoscopic scale relates to macroscale lubrication properties.