Dr. Enrico Gnecco
Enrico Gnecco is a Senior Scientist at IMDEA Nanoscience, Madrid. He started his research activities as undergraduate student at the University of Genova with experimental investigations of current noise in Hg and Tl based high Tc superconductors. His PhD thesis focused on nanotribology, i.e. the study of friction and wear processes on the nanometer scale. In the group of Ugo Valbusa he characterized the growth of amorphous carbon films by scanning probe microscopy, focusing on the relations between friction and self-affine properties of the surfaces. In the second part of his PhD he joined the group of Ernst Meyer in Basel, where he investigated basic friction mechanisms on atomically flat crystal surfaces in ultra high vacuum (UHV). The main result was the observation of a logarithmic velocity dependence of atomic friction, which was interpreted within a combination of the classical Tomlinson and Eyring models.
After his PhD E.G. joined the Swiss National Center of Competence of Research in Nanoscale Science, where he addressed other fundamental nanotribological processes, such as the wear onset on the atomic scale under vacuum conditions, the transition from stick-slip to superlubric regime of motion, and electromechanical methods to reduce friction down to negligible values. He also studied self-assembling of organic molecules on insulating surfaces by atomic force microscopy in UHV. In this context, an original way to trap molecules in rectangular nanopits produced by electron irradiation was introduced, and molecularly resolved images were obtained for the first time on alkali halides. E.G. is also interested in nanomanipulation performed by AFM on different systems, from metal clusters in ambient conditions to single molecules in UHV with the goal of evaluating the energy consumption accompanying the manipulation process.
E.G. co-authored about 70 peer-reviewed articles (including publications in Science, Nature Materials, PNAS and Nanoletters) and 4 book chapters. He also wrote the book "Nanoscale Processes on Insulating Surfaces" (World Scientific, 2009) with Marek Szymonski, and edited the book "Fundamentals of Friction and Wear on the Nanoscale" (Springer, 2007) with Ernst Meyer. Last but not least, he was awarded a diploma in piano from the Conservatory of Music of his hometown, Genova.
At IMDEA Nanociencia Prof. Gnecco is leading the nanotribology group, focusing on friction, adhesion and wear processes on the nanometer scale. Both experimental (atomic force microscopy and related techniques) and theoretical (analytical models based on classical mechanics and reaction rate theory) approaches are explored. Our current research topics are friction in liquid environments, nanomanipulation of organic molecules, and nanostructuring of polymers caused by visco-plastic deformations. The ultimate goal of his work is to control friction and particle manipulation at the nanoscale.
- “Suppression of electronic friction on Nb films in the superconducting state” M. Kisiel, et col. Nature Materials 10, 119-122 (2011)
- “Atomic-scale control of friction by actuation of nanometer-sized contacts” Socoliuc, et col. Science 313 207-210 (2006)
- “Velocity dependence of atomic friction” E. Gnecco, et col. Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 1172, 1-4 (2000)