Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

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

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

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.

References

  1. Geim, A. K. & Novoselov, K. S. The rise of graphene. Nature Mater. 6, 183–191 (2007).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Novoselov, K. S. et al. Electric field effect in atomically thin carbon films. Science 306, 666–669 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Geim, A. K. Graphene: Status and prospects. Science 324, 1530–1534 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Stankovich, S. et al. Graphene-based composite materials. Nature 442, 282–286 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Ramanathan, T. et al. Functionalized graphene sheets for polymer nanocomposites. Nature Nanotech. 3, 327–331 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Ansari, S., Kelarakis, A., Estevez, L. & Giannelis, E. P. Oriented arrays of graphene in a polymer matrix by in situ reduction of graphite oxide nanosheets. Small 6, 205–209 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Dikin, D. A. et al. Preparation and characterization of graphene oxide paper. Nature 448, 457–460 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Eda, G., Fanchini, G. & Chhowalla, M. Large-area ultrathin films of reduced graphene oxide as a transparent and flexible electronic material. Nature Nanotech. 3, 270–274 (2008).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Li, X. L. et al. Highly conducting graphene sheets and Langmuir–Blodgett films. Nature Nanotech. 3, 538–542 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Xu, Y., Sheng, K., Li, C. & Shi, G. Self-assembled graphene hydrogel via a one-step hydrothermal process. ACS Nano 4, 4324–4330 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Lee, S. H. et al. Three-dimensional self-assembly of graphene oxide platelets into mechanically flexible macroporous carbon films. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 49, 10084–10088 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Rogers, J. A., Someya, T. & Huang, Y. G. Materials and mechanics for stretchable electronics. Science 327, 1603–1607 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Novoselov, K. S. et al. Two-dimensional gas of massless Dirac fermions in graphene. Nature 438, 197–200 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Zhang, Y., Tan, Y-W., Stormer, H. L. & Kim, P. Experimental observation of the quantum Hall effect and Berry’s phase in graphene. Nature 438, 201–204 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Balandin, A. A. et al. Superior thermal conductivity of single-layer graphene. Nano Lett. 8, 902–907 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Lee, C., Wei, X. D., Kysar, J. W. & Hone, J. Measurement of the elastic properties and intrinsic strength of monolayer graphene. Science 321, 385–388 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Berger, C. et al. Electronic confinement and coherence in patterned epitaxial graphene. Science 312, 1191–1196 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Sutter, P. W., Flege, J. I. & Sutter, E. A. Epitaxial graphene on ruthenium. Nature Mater. 7, 406–411 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Park, S. & Ruoff, R. S. Chemical methods for the production of graphenes. Nature Nanotech. 4, 217–224 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Hernandez, Y. et al. High-yield production of graphene by liquid-phase exfoliation of graphite. Nature Nanotech. 3, 563–568 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Yu, Q. K. et al. Graphene segregated on Ni surfaces and transferred to insulators. Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 113103 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Chae, S. J. et al. Synthesis of large-area graphene layers on poly-nickel substrate by chemical vapour deposition: Wrinkle formation. Adv. Mater. 21, 2328–2333 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Reina, A. et al. Large area, few-layer graphene films on arbitrary substrates by chemical vapour deposition. Nano Lett. 9, 30–35 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Kim, K. S. et al. Large-scale pattern growth of graphene films for stretchable transparent electrodes. Nature 457, 706–710 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Li, X. S. et al. Large-area synthesis of high-quality and uniform graphene films on copper foils. Science 324, 1312–1314 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Bae, S. et al. Roll-to-roll production of 30-inch graphene films for transparent electrodes. Nature Nanotech. 5, 574–578 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Futaba, D. N. et al. Shape-engineerable and highly densely packed single-walled carbon nanotubes and their application as super-capacitor electrodes. Nature Mater. 5, 987–994 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Ferrari, A. C. et al. Raman spectrum of graphene and graphene layers. Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 187401 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Sekitani, T. et al. A rubberlike stretchable active matrix using elastic conductors. Science 321, 1468–1472 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Jung, Y. J. et al. Aligned carbon nanotube–polymer hybrid architectures for diverse flexible electronic applications. Nano Lett. 6, 413–418 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

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).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

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.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hui-Ming Cheng.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information (PDF 1885 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3001

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing