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Nano Lett. 2012 Jul 11;12(7):3526-31. doi: 10.1021/nl301080v. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Determination of the bending rigidity of graphene via electrostatic actuation of buckled membranes.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Gothenburg, SE-41296 Göteborg, Sweden.


Classical continuum mechanics is used extensively to predict the properties of nanoscale materials such as graphene. The bending rigidity, κ, is an important parameter that is used, for example, to predict the performance of graphene nanoelectromechanical devices and also ripple formation. Despite its importance, there is a large spread in the theoretical predictions of κ for few-layer graphene. We have used the snap-through behavior of convex buckled graphene membranes under the application of electrostatic pressure to determine experimentally values of κ for double-layer graphene membranes. We demonstrate how to prepare convex-buckled suspended graphene ribbons and fully clamped suspended membranes and show how the determination of the curvature of the membranes and the critical snap-through voltage, using AFM, allows us to extract κ. The bending rigidity of bilayer graphene membranes under ambient conditions was determined to be 35.5−15.0 +20.0 eV. Monolayers are shown to have significantly lower κ than bilayers.

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