Staying Ahead of the Curve with 3D Curved Graphene

By controlling the curvature, researchers have successfully retained the electrical properties of 2D graphene in a 3D structure.

An Electrical transport of 3D graphene with various curvature radii

A team of researchers has amplified 3D graphene's electrical properties by controlling its curvature.

"Our research showed the conservation and the degradation of the ultra-low dissipative transport of Dirac electrons on the 3D curved surface for the first time,"
Yoichi Tanabe, leading author of the study.

Graphene is a 2D atomic-layer material, shaped like honeycombs, which possesses excellent electrical, chemical, thermal, and mechanical properties for a wide range of applications such as semiconductors, electrical batteries, and composites.

Graphene sheets stacked together form graphite which makes up the lead in our pencils. However, packing together graphene tightly means it loses its 2D electronic properties.

One way to overcome this is to separate the graphene sheets with air-filled pores--like a sponge--at the nanometer scale and make it into a three-dimensional structure. This amplifies graphene's properties for practical purposes.

But doing so is not without its challenges; converting 2D graphene into 3D graphene introduces crystal defects and a host of other problems that cause it to lose its desirable characteristics. Little is known about how the curved surface degrades the graphene's electric transport properties and whether this is the reason for graphene losing its Dirac fermions.

The research team sought to investigate this by taking a single, 2D graphene sheet and folding it into a 3D structure with a bicontinuous and open porous structure.

The structure, with a curvature radius down to 25-50 nanometers, retained the basic electronic properties of 2D graphene well. Meanwhile, the motion of electrons on the 3D curvature enhanced electron scattering that had originated from the intrinsic curvature effects. In fact, nanoscale curvature provides a new degree of freedom to manipulate graphene's electronic behaviors for the emergent and unique electrical properties of 3D graphene.

Mingwei Chen (Profile)
Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR), Tohoku University
Email: [email protected]

Published: 20 Nov 2020


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Title: Dirac Fermion Kinetics in 3D Curved Graphene
Authors: Yoichi Tanabe, Yoshikazu Ito, Katsuaki Sugawara, Mikito Koshino, Shojiro Kimura, Tomoya Naito, Isaac Johnson, Takashi Takahashi, and Mingwei Chen
Journal: Advanced Materials
DOI: 10.1002/adma.202005838

Funding information:

This work was sponsored by JSPS Grant‐in‐Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Discrete Geometric Analysis for Materials Design”: Grant Nos. 17H06460 (steering group) and JP20H04628; JSPS KAKENHI Grant Nos. JP15H05473, JP18K14174, JP17K14074, JP18K18986, JP18H01821, JP19K05195, and JP19J20543; World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), MEXT, Japan; NIMS microstructural characterization platform as a program of “Nanotechnology Platform Project”, MEXT, Japan; Izumi Science and Technology Foundation; a cooperative program (Proposal No. 20G0002) of the CRDAM‐IMR, Tohoku University. This work was performed at High Field Laboratory for Superconducting Materials, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University (Project No. 18H0205, 19H0204, 20H0011), the RIKEN iTHEMS program. M.C. was sponsored by the Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University and National Science Foundation (NSF‐DMR‐1804320).