Hydrogenated Grain Boundaries Control the Strength and Ductility of Polycrystalline Graphene

NN Li and ZD Sha and QX Pei and YW Zhang, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 118, 13769-13774 (2014).

DOI: 10.1021/jp502084f

In the growth of polycrystalline graphene via chemical vapor deposition, grain boundaries (GBs) were shown to be energetically favorable sites for hydrogenation. Thus, it is of both scientific interest and technological significance to understand how hydrogenation on GBs affects the mechanical properties of polycrystalline graphene. Here we perform molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the mechanical properties of hydrogenated polycrystalline graphene. Our simulations reveal that the fracture strength of hydrogenated polycrystalline graphene is significantly reduced by the combined weakening effect of bond prestraining in highly defective GBs and sp(3) hybridization of hydrogenated GB atoms. In addition, this reduction in fracture strength due to GB hydrogenation is observed in polycrystalline graphene samples of different grain sizes ranging from 2.5 to 10 nm. Our findings show that the loss of mechanical strength due to GB hydrogenation must be taken into account in the application of polycrystalline graphene for nanodevices.

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