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Three-dimensional flexible and conductive interconnected graphene networks grown by chemical vapour deposition


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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Figure 1: Synthesis of a GF and integration with PDMS.
Figure 2: Characterization of a free-standing GF.
Figure 3: Morphology, fracture surface, electrical conductivity and mechanical properties of GF/PDMS composites.
Figure 4: Electrical-resistance change of GF/PDMS composites under mechanical deformation.


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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).

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Authors and Affiliations



H-M.C. and W.R. proposed and supervised the project, W.R. and Z.C. designed the experiments, Z.C. carried out experiments, W.R., Z.C. and H-M.C. analysed data and wrote the manuscript, L.G. advised on the growth, B.L. made TEM measurements and S.P. helped with conductivity measurements. All the authors participated in discussions of the research.

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Correspondence to Hui-Ming Cheng.

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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).

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