Thermal and electronic transport characteristics of highly stretchable graphene kirigami†
For centuries, cutting and folding papers with special patterns have been used to build beautiful, flexible and complex three-dimensional structures. Inspired by the old idea of kirigami (paper cutting), and the outstanding properties of graphene, recently graphene kirigami structures were fabricated to enhance the stretchability of graphene. However, the possibility of further tuning the electronic and thermal transport along the 2D kirigami structures has remained original to investigate. We therefore performed extensive atomistic simulations to explore the electronic, heat and load transfer along various graphene kirigami structures. The mechanical response and thermal transport were explored using classical molecular dynamics simulations. We then used a real-space Kubo–Greenwood formalism to investigate the charge transport characteristics in graphene kirigami. Our results reveal that graphene kirigami structures present highly anisotropic thermal and electrical transport. Interestingly, we show the possibility of tuning the thermal conductivity of graphene by four orders of magnitude. Moreover, we discuss the engineering of kirigami patterns to further enhance their stretchability by more than 10 times as compared with pristine graphene. Our study not only provides a general understanding concerning the engineering of electronic, thermal and mechanical response of graphene, but more importantly can also be useful to guide future studies with respect to the synthesis of other 2D material kirigami structures, to reach highly flexible and stretchable nanostructures with finely tunable electronic and thermal properties.