Conductivity Maximum in 3D Graphene Foams

F Liu and C Wang and QH Tang, SMALL, 14, 1801458 (2018).

DOI: 10.1002/smll.201801458

In conventional foams, electrical properties often play a secondary role. However, this scenario becomes different for 3D graphene foams (GrFs). In fact, one of the motivations for synthesizing 3D GrFs is to inherit the remarkable electrical properties of individual graphene sheets. Despite immense experimental efforts to study and improve the electrical properties of 3D GrFs, lack of theoretical studies and understanding limits further progress. The causes to this embarrassing situation are identified as the multiple freedoms introduced by graphene sheets and multiscale nature of this problem. In this article, combined with transport modeling and coarse-grained molecular dynamic (MD) simulations, a theoretical framework is established to systematically study the electrical conducting properties of 3D GrFs with or without deformation. In particular, through large-scale and massive calculations, a general relation between contact area and conductance for two van der Waals bonded graphene sheets is demonstrated, in terms of which the conductivity maximum phenomenon in GrFs is first theoretically proposed and its competition mechanism is explained. Moreover, the theoretical prediction is consistent with previous experimental observations.

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