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The investigation of the modifications of the nanoscale tribological properties of boron carbide films induced by the energy dissipation at the interface between the atomic force microscope tip and the film surface is presented. It is shown that the microscope tip induces a modification at the surface that results in a decrease on the friction forces between the tip and the film surface. The influences of the friction coefficient, the scanning speed, and the applied normal force on the film wear are investigated. Using a microscopic model, the dissipated energy at the tip–surface interface during scanning was estimated. The influence of the dissipated energy on the nanoscale wear is presented and a strong correlation between friction and wear, in nanoscale, is shown. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.