Microscopic Studies of Friction and Wear at the Benzotriazole/Copper Interface
Interfacial friction and topographic changes at copper surfaces have been measured in situ with AFM in nitric acid and in acidic and neutral solutions of benzotriazole (BTA), a known corrosion inhibitor. In addition, changes in the thickness of the copper film have been measured ex situ using stylus profilometry as a function of solution treatment. These measurements demonstrate isotropic dissolution in 0.10 M HNO3 solutions and little change in neutral solutions of BTA. However in acidified solutions of BTA, the formation of a substantial reaction overlayer, the presence of higher interfacial friction, and the tip-mediated, localized dissolution of copper interface is observed. These measurements indicate that BTA plays a multifunctional role under acidic conditions. In the absence of mechanical action, BTA acts to passivate the surface from isotropic etching under acidic conditions. In regions of interfacial contact, the dissolution of a BTA-Cu reaction layer leads to the localized removal of copper through a tip-mediated process.
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