Tribology, the study of friction, has been around for many years. In the last few years, atomic-scale investigations of friction have brought the field of "nanotribology" into existence. A recent report gives detailed data and analysis of liquid and solid monolayers on "smooth" and "rough" substrates.
J. Krim, D.H. Solina, R. Chiarello, "Nanotribology of a Kr Monolayer: A quartz-crystal microbalance study of atomic scale friction," Physical Review Letters, 66, 181-4, 14 January 1991. (Northeastern University, Boston)
Calculations to determine the structure of reconstructed crystal surfaces have relied on educated guesses that were subsequently optimized by computer calculations. A recent calculation using quantum molecular dynamics shows that it is now possible to start with the ideal, unrelaxed surface and "let the computer" find the structure of lowest energy.
F. Ancilotto, W. Andreoni, A. Selloni, R. Car, M. Parrinello, "Structural, electronic, and vibrational properties of Si(111)-2x1 from Ab Initio molecular dynamics," Physical...