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Research Papers

Wrinkling Instability of Graphene on Substrate-Supported Nanoparticles

[+] Author and Article Information
Shuze Zhu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Maryland,
College Park, MD 20742

Teng Li

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Maryland,
College Park, MD 20742
e-mail: LiT@umd.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 30, 2013; final manuscript received January 27, 2014; accepted manuscript posted February 20, 2014; published online February 20, 2014. Editor: Yonggang Huang.

J. Appl. Mech 81(6), 061008 (Feb 20, 2014) (5 pages) Paper No: JAM-13-1525; doi: 10.1115/1.4026638 History: Received December 30, 2013; Revised January 27, 2014; Accepted February 20, 2014

Wrinkles in graphene with desirable morphology have practical significance for electronic applications. Here we carry out a systematic molecular dynamics study of the wrinkling instability of graphene on substrate-supported nanoparticles (NPs). At a large NP dispersion distance, a monolayer graphene adheres to the substrate and bulges out locally to wrap around individual NPs, forming isolated dome-shaped protrusions. At a small NP dispersion distance, tunneling wrinkles form in graphene to bridge the NP-induced protrusions. A critical NP dispersion distance for the onset of tunneling wrinkle instability of graphene is determined as a function of the NP size. The prediction from the modeling study agrees well with recent experimental observations. Results from the present study offer further insights into the formation of desirable wrinkles in graphene deposited on a substrate with engineered protrusions and, thus, can potentially enable novel design of graphene-based electronics.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) Schematics of graphene covering a substrate with dispersed NPs (not to scale). (b) Atomic force microscopy image of the wrinkled morphology of a monolayer graphene covering a SiO2 substrate with dispersed SiO2 NPs. Three representative types of wrinkling morphology (highlighted by red circles) can be observed: (1) wrinkling of graphene on isolated NP; (2) wrinkling of graphene bridging two neighboring NPs; (3) wrinkling of graphene on quasi-isolated NPs. The atomic force microscopy image is reprinted from Ref. 23, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

A schematic of a flat graphene monolayer on a substrate with a separation distance of h

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) MD simulation model. Inset shows the cross-sectional view of the initial configuration. Periodical boundary condition (PBC) is applied in y direction, so that the length of the simulation box along the PBC direction represents the NP dispersion distance S. (b) The typical equilibrium morphology of graphene on a small and isolated NP on the substrate. (c)–(e) Variation of wrinkling morphology of graphene on an isolated NP with increasing size.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Wrinkling morphology of graphene on NPs with relatively small dispersion distance. For visual guidance, two periodical images are combined along the PBC direction. For dNP = 2 nm, (a) the two NP-intercalated graphene domes remain isolated when dispersion distance S = 25 nm. (b) A tunneling wrinkle forms between two NPs when S = 21 nm. For dNP = 6 nm, (c) two long tipped wrinkles run in parallel between neighboring NPs and terminate in the middle with a short overlap but their tips remain distinct from each other (inset) when S = 110 nm. (d) When S = 100 nm, a tunneling wrinkle forms between two neighboring NPs.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

A diagram of the wrinkling instability of graphene morphology on substrate-supported NPs in the space of NP dispersion distance and diameter

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