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Lubrication forces in air and accommodation coefficient measured by a thermal damping method using an atomic force microscope
By analysis of the thermally driven oscillation of an atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever, we have measured both the damping and static forces acting on a sphere near a flat plate immersed in gas. By varying the proximity of the sphere to the plate, we can continuously vary the Knudsen number (Kn) at constant pressure, thereby accessing the slip flow, transition, and molecular regimes at a single pressure. We use measurements in the slip-flow regime to determine the combined slip length (on both sphere and plate) and the tangential momentum accommodation coefficient, sigma. For ambient air at 1 atm between two methylated glass solids, the inverse damping is linear with separation and the combined slip length on both surfaces is 250 nm +/- 100 nm, which corresponds to sigma = 0.77 +/- 0.24. At small separations (Kn > 0.4) the measured inverse damping is no longer linear with separation, and is observed to exhibit reasonable agreement with the Vinogradova formula.