The high specific surface area and the excellent mechanical, electrical, optical and thermal properties of graphene make it an attractive component for high-performance stimuli-responsive or ‘smart’ materials. Complementary to these inherent properties, functionalization or hybridization can substantially improve the performance of these materials. Typical graphene-based smart materials include mechanically exfoliated perfect graphene, chemical vapour deposited high-quality graphene, chemically modified graphene (for example, graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide) and their macroscopic assemblies or composites. These materials are sensitive to a range of stimuli, including gas molecules or biomolecules, pH value, mechanical strain, electrical field, and thermal or optical excitation. In this Review, we outline different graphene-based smart materials and their potential applications in actuators, chemical or strain sensors, self-healing materials, photothermal therapy and controlled drug delivery. We also introduce the working mechanisms of graphene-based smart materials and discuss the challenges facing the realization of their practical applications.
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This work was supported by the Key Special Project of Nanotechnology of China (2016YFA0200200), the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB933001), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFB1104300), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51433005, 21674056, 21325415 and 51673026), the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (2152028), and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Comission (Z161100002116022).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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