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ABSTRACT: Friction is a universal phenomenon that plays a major role in various natural and technical processes. Despite its importance from both practical and scientific points of view, centuries of experiments have not been able to deliver a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental physical principles that govern friction. As such, friction remains as a vibrant topic of research that attracts scientists and engineers from various disciplines.
In this talk, we will report results of atomic force microscopy (AFM) based friction experiments from our laboratory. In particular, we demonstrate the remarkable occurrence of structural superlubricity (a state of ultra-low friction theoretically expected at molecularly clean and atomically flat, incommensurate interfaces)  between nano-islands of noble metals and graphite under ambient conditions [2, 3]. In a complementary fashion, we will present our recent efforts aimed at understanding the frictional characteristics of MoS2, a prominent member of the 2D materials family. Specifically, we detect the presence of atomic-scale ripples on the MoS2 surface and evaluate their influence on friction anisotropy . Moreover, experiments performed on Re-doped MoS2 reveal an inverse dependence of friction on number of layers, a new paradigm in the frictional behavior of 2D materials . The talk concludes with an overview of remaining challenges and emerging opportunities for both research directions.
 M.Z. Baykara, M.R. Vazirisereshk, A. Martini, Applied Physics Reviews 5, 041102 (2018).
 E. Cihan, S. Ipek, E. Durgun, M.Z. Baykara, Nature Communications 7, 12055 (2016).
 A. Özoğul, S. Ipek, E. Durgun, M.Z. Baykara, Applied Physics Letters 111, 211602 (2017).
 O.E. Dagdeviren, O. Acikgoz, P. Grütter, M.Z. Baykara, npj 2D Materials and Applications 4, 30 (2020).
 O. Acikgoz, A. Yanilmaz, O.E. Dagdeviren, C. Çelebi, M.Z. Baykara, arXiv: 2007.05805 (2020).
BIOGRAPHY: Mehmet Z. Baykara is a tenured Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UC Merced. A native of Istanbul, Turkey, he obtained his B.S. degree from Boğaziçi University in 2006, and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2012. His doctoral thesis was recognized by the "Henry Prentiss Becton Graduate Award for Exceptional Achievement in Research" at Yale University. Prior to joining UC Merced, Mehmet worked as an Assistant Professor at Bilkent University, where he conducted research funded by the European Commission, and as Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and Harvard University.
Mehmet authored publications in journals including Nature Communications and Nature Nanotechnology, and delivered numerous invited presentations at research institutes and universities around the world. He is the recipient of multiple academic awards, including those from the American Vacuum Society (AVS), Materials Research Society (MRS), and the German Physical Society (DPG).