Switching adhesion and friction by light using photosensitive guest-host interactions

Friction and adhesion between two [small beta]-cyclodextrin functionalized surfaces can be switched reversibly by external light stimuli. The interaction between the cyclodextrin molecules attached to the tip of an atomic force microscope and a silicon wafer surface is mediated by complexation of ditopic azobenzene guest molecules. At the single molecule level, the rupture force of an individual complex is 61 +/- 10 pN.