A team of researchers is using kirigami to create nanoscale machines out of graphene at the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science (KIC). They published the demonstration of their experiments in Nature.
Kirigami is the art of folding paper and then cutting it so that it folds out into intricate designs – such as making paper snowflakes. When used on graphene, an incredibly thin but strong conducting material that can be stretched and twisted to great lengths, researchers believe it could lead to the creation of nanoscale devices with flexible electrodes, springs and hinges.
The graphene they used were sheets of hexagonally bonded carbon as thin as a single atom.
To make the graphene kirigami, the team used a laser cutter to create paper models of their designs before moving on to make them out of single atom-thick graphene sheets. They also made gold tab “handles” in order to grab the ends of the graphene kirigami shapes.
You can watch the graphene kirigami being stretched and twisted in the video below.
Megan Toomey is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne.