I. Gebeshuber, H. Stachelberger, M. Drack:
"Diatom Bionanotribology - Biological Surfaces in Relative Motion: Their Design, Friction, Adhesion,Lubrication and Wear";
Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 5 (2005), S. 79 - 87.

Kurzfassung englisch:
Tribology is the branch of engineering that deals with the interaction
of surfaces in relative motion (as in bearings or gears): their design,
friction, adhesion, lubrication and wear. Continuous miniaturization of
technological devices like hard disc drives and biosensors increase the
necessity for the fundamental understanding of tribological phenomena at
the micro- and nanoscale.
Biological systems show optimized performance also at this scale.
Examples for biological friction systems at different length scales
include bacterial flagella, joints, articular cartilage and muscle
connective tissues [1].
Scanning probe microscopy opened the nanocosmos to engineers: not only
is microscopy now possible on the atomic scale, but even manipulation of
single atoms and molecules can be performed with unprecedented
precision. As opposed to this top-down approach, biological systems
excel in bottom-up nanotechnology.
Our model system for bionanotribological investigations are diatoms, for
they are small, highly reproductive, and since they are transparent,
they are accessible with different kinds of optical microscopy methods.
Furthermore, certain diatoms have proved to be rewarding samples for
mechanical and topological in vivo investigations on the nanoscale [2].
There are several diatom species that actively move (e.g. Bacillaria
paxillifer forms colonies in which the single cells slide against each
other) or which can, as cell colonies, be elongated by as much as a
major fraction of their original length (e.g. Ellerbeckia arenaria
colonies can be reversibly elongated by one third of their original
length). Therefore, we assume that some sort of lubrication of
interactive surfaces is present in these species.
Current studies in diatom bionanotribology comprise techniques like
atomic force microscopy, histochemical analysis, infrared spectrometry,
molecular spectroscopy and confocal infrared microscopy.

Keywords: tribology, lubrication, friction, wear, biomimetics, diatoms,
nanotribology, bionanotribology, natural lubricants, natural adhesives,
environmentally friendly materials, renewable resources

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