The physics of adhesion of one-dimensional nanostructures such as nanotubes, nanocoils, and nanowires is of great interest to the functioning and reliability of nanoelectronic devices and the development of high-strength, lightweight nanocomposites. Here, we extend previous work using the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to investigate quantitatively the physics of nanomechanical peeling of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and nanocoils on different substrates. We summarize previous modeling results which predict that an initially straight nanotube peeled from a surface may transition suddenly between different geometric configurations with vastly different interfacial energies. In contrast, nanocoils display a sawtooth peeling force curve indicating the sequential release of discrete pinning points. We resolve differences in nanotube peeling energies at attoJoule levels on different materials, thus opening up the possibility of sensitive screening of fiber coatings or material surfaces for improved adhesion in nanocomposites.

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