Integration of individual two-dimensional graphene sheets1,2,3 into macroscopic structures is essential for the application of graphene. A series of graphene-based composites4,5,6 and macroscopic structures7,8,9,10,11 have been recently fabricated using chemically derived graphene sheets. However, these composites and structures suffer from poor electrical conductivity because of the low quality and/or high inter-sheet junction contact resistance of the chemically derived graphene sheets. Here we report the direct synthesis of three-dimensional foam-like graphene macrostructures, which we call graphene foams (GFs), by template-directed chemical vapour deposition. A GF consists of an interconnected flexible network of graphene as the fast transport channel of charge carriers for high electrical conductivity. Even with a GF loading as low as ∼0.5 wt%, GF/poly(dimethyl siloxane) composites show a very high electrical conductivity of ∼10 S cm−1, which is ∼6 orders of magnitude higher than chemically derived graphene-based composites4. Using this unique network structure and the outstanding electrical and mechanical properties of GFs, as an example, we demonstrate the great potential of GF/poly(dimethyl siloxane) composites for flexible, foldable and stretchable conductors12.
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We thank L. Ma for assisting in large-size graphene foam synthesis and discussions. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (Nos 50921004, 50972147 and 50872136) and Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KJCX2-YW-231).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Chen, Z., Ren, W., Gao, L. et al. Three-dimensional flexible and conductive interconnected graphene networks grown by chemical vapour deposition. Nature Mater 10, 424–428 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3001
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