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Curved 3D graphene offers amplified electrical properties

Professional Engineering

3D curved graphene at different scales (Credit: Tohoku University)
3D curved graphene at different scales (Credit: Tohoku University)

A team of researchers has amplified 3D graphene's electrical properties by controlling its curvature.

The team, from Tohoku University in Japan, set out to improve graphene’s electric transport properties.

Graphene is well known as a 2D atomic-layer material with excellent electrical, chemical, thermal and mechanical properties for a wide range of applications such as semiconductors, electrical batteries, and composites.

Packing graphene tightly together means it loses its 2D electronic properties – this has previously been overcome by separating the sheets with air-filled pores at the nanometre scale, creating 3D structures with amplified properties.

Doing so introduces crystal defects and a host of other problems, however, which cause it to lose desirable characteristics. “Little is known about how the curved surface degrades the graphene's electric transport properties and whether this is the reason for graphene losing its Dirac fermions,” a research announcement from the Tohoku team said.

The team investigated this by taking a single, 2D graphene sheet and folding it into a 3D structure with a bicontinuous and open porous structure. The structure, with a curvature radius down to 25-50nm, reportedly retained the basic electronic properties of 2D graphene well.

“Nanoscale curvature provides a new degree of freedom to manipulate graphene's electronic behaviours for the emergent and unique electrical properties of 3D graphene,” the announcement said.

The research was published in Advanced Materials.


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