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.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $16.58 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Geim, A. K. & Novoselov, K. S. The rise of graphene. Nature Mater. 6, 183–191 (2007).
Novoselov, K. S. et al. Electric field effect in atomically thin carbon films. Science 306, 666–669 (2004).
Geim, A. K. Graphene: Status and prospects. Science 324, 1530–1534 (2009).
Stankovich, S. et al. Graphene-based composite materials. Nature 442, 282–286 (2006).
Ramanathan, T. et al. Functionalized graphene sheets for polymer nanocomposites. Nature Nanotech. 3, 327–331 (2008).
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).
Dikin, D. A. et al. Preparation and characterization of graphene oxide paper. Nature 448, 457–460 (2007).
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).
Li, X. L. et al. Highly conducting graphene sheets and Langmuir–Blodgett films. Nature Nanotech. 3, 538–542 (2008).
Xu, Y., Sheng, K., Li, C. & Shi, G. Self-assembled graphene hydrogel via a one-step hydrothermal process. ACS Nano 4, 4324–4330 (2010).
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).
Rogers, J. A., Someya, T. & Huang, Y. G. Materials and mechanics for stretchable electronics. Science 327, 1603–1607 (2010).
Novoselov, K. S. et al. Two-dimensional gas of massless Dirac fermions in graphene. Nature 438, 197–200 (2005).
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).
Balandin, A. A. et al. Superior thermal conductivity of single-layer graphene. Nano Lett. 8, 902–907 (2008).
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).
Berger, C. et al. Electronic confinement and coherence in patterned epitaxial graphene. Science 312, 1191–1196 (2006).
Sutter, P. W., Flege, J. I. & Sutter, E. A. Epitaxial graphene on ruthenium. Nature Mater. 7, 406–411 (2008).
Park, S. & Ruoff, R. S. Chemical methods for the production of graphenes. Nature Nanotech. 4, 217–224 (2009).
Hernandez, Y. et al. High-yield production of graphene by liquid-phase exfoliation of graphite. Nature Nanotech. 3, 563–568 (2008).
Yu, Q. K. et al. Graphene segregated on Ni surfaces and transferred to insulators. Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 113103 (2008).
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).
Reina, A. et al. Large area, few-layer graphene films on arbitrary substrates by chemical vapour deposition. Nano Lett. 9, 30–35 (2009).
Kim, K. S. et al. Large-scale pattern growth of graphene films for stretchable transparent electrodes. Nature 457, 706–710 (2009).
Li, X. S. et al. Large-area synthesis of high-quality and uniform graphene films on copper foils. Science 324, 1312–1314 (2009).
Bae, S. et al. Roll-to-roll production of 30-inch graphene films for transparent electrodes. Nature Nanotech. 5, 574–578 (2010).
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).
Ferrari, A. C. et al. Raman spectrum of graphene and graphene layers. Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 187401 (2006).
Sekitani, T. et al. A rubberlike stretchable active matrix using elastic conductors. Science 321, 1468–1472 (2008).
Jung, Y. J. et al. Aligned carbon nanotube–polymer hybrid architectures for diverse flexible electronic applications. Nano Lett. 6, 413–418 (2006).
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.
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) doi:10.1038/nmat3001
Large magnetotransport properties in mixed-dimensional van der Waals heterostructures of graphene foam
Highly Sensitive Graphene/Polydimethylsiloxane Composite Films near the Threshold Concentration with Biaxial Stretching
Self-templating graphene network composites by flame carbonization for excellent electromagnetic interference shielding
Composites Part B: Engineering (2020)
Architectural design of flexible anisotropic piezoresistive composite for multiple-loading recognization
Composites Part B: Engineering (2020)
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2020)