Ultrathin thermoresponsive self-folding 3D graphene

Weinan Xu, Zhao Qin, Chun Teh Chen, Hye Rin Kwag, Qinli Ma, Anjishnu Sarkar, Markus J. Buehler, David H. Gracias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Graphene and other two-dimensional materials have unique physical and chemical properties of broad relevance. It has been suggested that the transformation of these atomically planar materials to three-dimensional (3D) geometries by bending, wrinkling, or folding could significantly alter their properties and lead to novel structures and devices with compact form factors, but strategies to enable this shape change remain limited. We report a benign thermally responsive method to fold and unfold monolayer graphene into predesigned, ordered 3D structures. The methodology involves the surface functionalization of monolayer graphene using ultrathin noncovalently bonded mussel-inspired polydopamine and thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) brushes. The functionalized graphene is micropatterned and self-folds into ordered 3D structures with reversible deformation under a full control by temperature. The structures are characterized using spectroscopy and microscopy, and self-folding is rationalized using a multiscale molecular dynamics model. Our work demonstrates the potential to design and fabricate ordered 3D graphene structures with predictable shape and dynamics. We highlight applicability by encapsulating live cells and creating nonlinear resistor and creased transistor devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1701084
JournalScience Advances
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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