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Fabrication of Three-Dimensional Graphene-Based Polyhedrons via Origami-Like Self-Folding

Published: September 23rd, 2018



1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States

Here, we present a protocol for fabrication of 3D graphene-based polyhedrons via origami-like self-folding.

The assembly of two-dimensional (2D) graphene into three-dimensional (3D) polyhedral structures while preserving the graphene's excellent inherent properties has been of great interest for the development of novel device applications. Here, fabrication of 3D, microscale, hollow polyhedrons (cubes) consisting of a few layers of 2D graphene or graphene oxide sheets via an origami-like self-folding process is described. This method involves the use of polymer frames and hinges, and aluminum oxide/chromium protection layers that reduce tensile, spatial, and surface tension stresses on the graphene-based membranes when the 2D nets are transformed into 3D cubes. The process offers control of the size and shape of the structures as well as parallel production. In addition, this approach allows the creation of surface modifications by metal patterning on each face of the 3D cubes. Raman spectroscopy studies show the method allows the preservation of the intrinsic properties of the graphene-based membranes, demonstrating the robustness of our method.

Two-dimensional (2D) graphene sheets possess extraordinary optical, electronic, and mechanical properties, making them model systems for the observation of novel quantum phenomena for next-generation electronic, optoelectronic, electrochemical, electromechanical, and biomedical applications1,2,3,4,5,6. Apart from the as-produced 2D layered structure of graphene, recently, various modification approaches have been investigated to observe new functionalities of graphene and ....

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CAUTION: Several of the chemicals used in these syntheses are toxic and may cause irritation and severe organ damage when touched or inhaled. Please use appropriate safety equipment and wear personal protective equipment when handling the chemicals.

1. Preparation of Aluminum Oxide and Chromium Protection Layers on a Copper Sacrificial Layer

  1. Using an electron-beam evaporator, deposit 10 nm thick chromium (Cr) and 300 nm thick copper (Cu) layers (sacrificial layer) on the silicon (S.......

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Figure 2 displays optical images of the lithographic processes of the 2D graphene and GO net structures and subsequent self-folding process. The self-folding process is monitored in real-time via a high-resolution microscope. Both types of 3D graphene-based cubes are folded at ~80 °C. Figure 3 lays out video captured sequences showing the self-folding of 3D graphene-based cubes in a parallel manner. Under an op.......

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For the cubes fabricated with CVD graphene, because each face of a given cube is designed with an outer frame surrounding a ~160 × 160 µm2 area of free-standing graphene, a single sheet of monolayer graphene does not have the necessary strength to permit parallel processing of the cubes. For this reason, graphene membranes consisting of three layers of CVD graphene monolayer sheets are produced via three separate graphene transfers using multiple PMMA coating/removal steps. On the other hand.......

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This material is based upon work supported by a start-up fund at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and an NSF CAREER Award (CMMI-1454293). Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility at the University of Minnesota, a member of the NSF-funded Materials Research Facilities Network (via the MRSEC program. Portions of this work were conducted in the Minnesota Nano Center, which is supported by the National Science Foundation through the National Nano Coordinated Infrastructure Network (NNCI) under Award Number ECCS-1542202. C. D. acknowledges support from the 3M Science and Technology Fellowship.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Acetone Fisher Chemical A18P-4 N/A
Aluminium oxide Kurt J. Lesker Company EVMALO-1-2.5 99.99% Pure
APS Copper Etchant 100 Transene Company, Inc. N/A N/A
Camera (for 3D image) Nikon D5100 1080p Full HD, Effective pixels: 16.2 million, Sensorsize: 23.6 mm x 15.6 mm
CE-5 M Chromium Mask Etchant Transene Company, Inc. N/A N/A
Chemical deposition growth (CVD) system Customized N/A Lindberg/Blue Tube Furnace
Chromium Kurt J. Lesker Company EVMCR35J 99.95% pure
Chromium Etchant 473 Transene Company, Inc. N/A N/A
Copper Kurt J. Lesker Company EVMCU40QXQJ 99.99% pure
Developer-1 (MF319 developer) Microposit 10018042 N/A
Developer-2 (AZ developer) Merck performance Materials Corp. 1005422496 N/A
Developer-3 (SU-8 developer) MicroChem NC9901158 N/A
Digital Hot Plate Thermo Scientific HP131725 Super-Nuvoa series, maximum temperature: 370 °C
E-Beam Evaporator System Rocky Mountain Vacuum Tech. N/A RME-2000
Graphene oxide Goographene N/A Purity: ~ 99%; Single layer ratio: ~99%;  0.7-1.2 nm in thickness.
Isopropyl Alcohol Fisher Chemical A416-4 N/A
Mask Aligner Midas MDA-400LJ N/A
Microscope Omax NJF-120A N/A
multiple polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) MicroChem 950 PMMA A9 N/A
Oxygen plasma  Technics Inc. SERIES 800 Microscale reactive ion etching (RIE)
Photoresist-1 (S1813 Photoresist) Microposit 10018348 N/A
Photoresist-2 (SPR220 Photoresist) MicroChem SPR00220-7G N/A
Photoresist-3 (SU-8 Photoresist) MicroChem SU-8-2010 N/A
Profilometer Tencor Instruments N/A Alpha-Step 200
Raman WITec Instruments Corp. Alpha300R Confocal Raman Microscope
Silicon Wafer Siltronic AG N/A 100mm diameter, N-type, one-side polish, resitivity: 560-840 Ω•cm
Spinner Best Tools S0114031123 SMART COATER 100
Titanium Kurt J. Lesker Company EVMTI45QXQA 99.99% Pure
Ultrasonic Cleaner Crest Ultrasonics N/A Powersonic series

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