Graphene is the modern go-to material for scientists and engineers looking to create all manner of new electronic devices.
From ultra-frugal light bulbs (both big and small), to super-efficient solar cells, flexible displays and much more, graphene is a multi-tasking marvel. However, in all of these instances, graphene in its original form of atom-thin, flat sheets has had to be used with peripheral supports and structures because it lacks a solid shape and form of its own.
Now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have come up with a way of creating 3D objects out of graphene that opens up the possibility of fashioning a whole new range of innovative electronic devices.
To create 3D shapes in graphene, the researchers first had to ensure that their approach was sufficient to maintain the structural integrity of the material when it was subjected to deformation. As such, the team used an underlying substrate former over which they laid a film of graphene that had been soaked in solvent to make it swell and become malleable. Once overlaid on the former, the solvent then evaporated over time, leaving behind a layer of graphene that had taken on the shape of the underlying structure. In this way the team was able to produce a range of relatively intricate shapes.
“We also expect that our new 3D integration approach will facilitate advanced classes of hybrid devices between microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and 2D materials for sensing and actuation,” said SungWoo Nam.
Read more: Graphene takes on a new dimension
The Latest on: 3D shapes in graphene
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The Latest on: 3D shapes in graphene
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