Graphene has remarkable electronic properties, but using these atom-thin sheets of carbon in devices remains challenging, and attempts to build graphene macrostructures have yielded materials with low conductivity. Hui-Ming Cheng and his co-workers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shenyang now report a three-dimensional, conductive all-graphene macrostructure they call a graphene foam.

The researchers deposited graphene on a template made from a porous nickel foam. After removing the nickel, they were left with a structure made of a three-dimensional network of interconnected graphene channels (micrograph pictured). Combined with a silicon-based polymeric matrix, the foam forms a composite that retains the high conductivity and flexibility of the two components, making this a promising material for flexible and large-scale electronic applications.

Nature Mater. doi:10.1038/nmat3001 (2011)