When Flexoelectricity Drives Triboelectricity

Christopher A. Mizzi, Laurence D. Marks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Triboelectricity has been known since antiquity, but the fundamental science underlying this phenomenon lacks consensus. We present a flexoelectric model for triboelectricity where contact deformation induced band bending at the nanoscale is the driving force for charge transfer. This framework is combined with first-principles and finite element calculations to explore charge transfer implications for different contact geometry and materials combinations. We demonstrate that our ab initio based formulation is compatible with existing empirical models and experimental observations including charge transfer between similar materials and size/pressure dependencies associated with triboelectricity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3939-3945
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 25 2022


  • Band Bending
  • Contact Mechanics
  • Flexoelectricity
  • Triboelectricity
  • Tribology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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