Nanomechanical Unfolding of Self-Folded Graphene on Flat Substrate

  • C.L. Yi
  • L.Y. Zhang
  • X.M. Chen
  • X.Q. WangEmail author
  • C.H. KeEmail author
Brief Technical Note


We report the nanomechanical unfolding of individual self-folded graphene flakes on a flat substrate by using atomic force microscopy techniques. The nanomechanical measurements and molecular dynamics simulations reveal the detailed unfolding process that turns a z-shaped self-folded graphene segment into a flat membrane. A reversible sliding phenomenon in the adhered graphene region during the unfolding process is observed. The findings are useful to better understand the reversible folding properties of graphene and in pursuit of reversible and morphing graphene origami.


Graphene Unfolding Origami Atomic force microscopy 



C.L. Yi and L.Y. Z. contributed equally to this work. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. CMMI-1537333 (CK) and CMMI-1306065(XW). L.Y.Z. was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under the Grant No. 31741043 and No. 51805414.

Supplementary material

11340_2018_466_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (307 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 306 kb)


  1. 1.
    Al-Mulla T, Qin Z, Buehler MJ (2015) Crumpling deformation regimes of monolayer graphene on substrate: a molecular mechanics study. J Phys Condens Matter 27:345401. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zhu W, Low T, Perebeinos V et al (2012) Structure and electronic transport in graphene wrinkles. Nano Lett 12:3431–3436. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kim K, Lee Z, Malone BD et al (2011) Multiply folded graphene. Phys Rev B 83:245433. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Blees MK, Barnard AW, Rose PA et al (2015) Graphene kirigami. Nature 524:204–207. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zhu S, Li T (2014) Hydrogenation-assisted graphene origami and its application in programmable molecular mass uptake, storage, and release. ACS Nano 8:2864–2872. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Becton M, Zhang L, Wang X (2013) Effects of surface dopants on graphene folding by molecular simulations. Chem Phys Lett 584:135–141. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zhang L, Zeng X, Wang X (2013) Programmable hydrogenation of graphene for novel nanocages. Sci Rep 3.
  8. 8.
    Meng X, Li M, Kang Z et al (2013) Mechanics of self-folding of single-layer graphene. J Phys Appl Phys 46:055308. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cranford S, Sen D, Buehler MJ (2009) Meso-origami: folding multilayer graphene sheets. Appl Phys Lett 95:123121. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zhou Z, Qian D, Vasudevan VK, Ruoff RS (2012) Folding mechanics of bi-layer graphene sheet. Nano LIFE 02:1240007. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chen X, Yi C, Ke C (2015) Bending stiffness and interlayer shear modulus of few-layer graphene. Appl Phys Lett 106:101907. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yi C, Chen X, Zhang L et al (2016) Nanomechanical z-shape folding of graphene on flat substrate. Extreme Mech Lett 9:84–90. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chen X, Zhang L, Zhao Y et al (2014) Graphene folding on flat substrates. J Appl Phys 116:164301. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Annett J, Cross GLW (2016) Self-assembly of graphene ribbons by spontaneous self-tearing and peeling from a substrate. Nature 535:271–275. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    He Z-Z, Zhu Y-B, Wu H-A (2018) Self-folding mechanics of graphene tearing and peeling from a substrate. Front Phys 13:138111. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zang J, Ryu S, Pugno N et al (2013) Multifunctionality and control of the crumpling and unfolding of large-area graphene. Nat Mater 12:321–325. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Xu W, Qin Z, Chen C-T et al (2017) Ultrathin thermoresponsive self-folding 3D graphene. Sci Adv 3:e1701084. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Miskin MZ, Dorsey KJ, Bircan B et al (2018) Graphene-based bimorphs for micron-sized, autonomous origami machines. Proc Natl Acad Sci:201712889.
  19. 19.
    Parviz D, Metzler SD, Das S et al (2015) Tailored crumpling and unfolding of spray-dried pristine graphene and graphene oxide sheets. Small 11:2661–2668. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Novoselov KS, Geim AK, Morozov SV et al (2004) Electric field effect in atomically thin carbon films. Science 306:666–669. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Qu W, Chen X, Ke C (2017) Temperature-dependent frictional properties of ultra-thin boron nitride nanosheets. Appl Phys Lett 110:143110. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Stuart SJ, Tutein AB, Harrison JA (2000) A reactive potential for hydrocarbons with intermolecular interactions. J Chem Phys 112:6472–6486. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Koren E, Duerig U (2016) Moir\’e scaling of the sliding force in twisted bilayer graphene. Phys Rev B 94:045401. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Koren E, Lörtscher E, Rawlings C et al (2015) Adhesion and friction in mesoscopic graphite contacts. Science 348:679–683. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zheng Q, Liu Z (2014) Experimental advances in superlubricity. Friction 2:182–192. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringState University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA
  2. 2.College of EngineeringUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems EngineeringXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.Materials Science and Engineering ProgramState University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA

Personalised recommendations