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Self-assembly 3D Microscale Graphene Based Structures

Technology #20160143

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MicrostructureMicroscale Self-assembly
Jeong-Hyun Cho, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
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Daeha Joung, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
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Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289
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Provisional Patent Application Filed
Tunable Optical Transparency in Self-Assembled Three-Dimensional Polyhedral Graphene Oxide
ACS Nano, ACS Nano, 2016, 10 (10), pp 9586–9594

3D Microstructure with Tunable Optical Transparency

A new method builds microscale, free-standing, three-dimensional (3D), hollow, graphene-based structures using an origami-like self-assembly approach. This method allows for the fabrication of a hollow 3D graphene-based structure that incorporates the tunable optical properties of multilayered 2D graphene oxide (GO) into 3D geometry. The approach fabricates a 3D structure with both vertical and horizontal free-standing GO materials that does not require additional support or substrate. And unlike 2D membranes, this 3D GO microstructure exhibits a rapidly tunable optical transparency when wet. These hollow GO-faced micro-cube devices could expand applications of 3D graphene-based structures beyond porous or solid structures, as allowing precision size and shape control provides directionality, increased surface area and an ability to combine sensing or other devices on one micro-device.

Controllable Manufacture of 3D Graphene Based Structures

A number of chemical synthetic methods have been developed to achieve 3D graphene porous and networks, but the structures face several drawbacks. One drawback is that 3D graphene is not hollow, which limits its potential application. Another issue is that size is not well controllable and its shape is merely periodic randomly cross-linked continuous graphene, like a 3D sponge. This unique self-folding approach to realize 3D polyhedral (cubic) graphene-based structures overcomes these challenges of controllable manufacture of 3D graphene-based structures.


  • Fabrication of graphene and GO microstructures (microcubes)
  • Microscale, free-standing, hollow and 3D structures
  • Rapidly tunable optical transparency
  • Origami-like self-assembly mechanism
  • Unique optical transparent tunable property (reproducible and repeatable) when wet may enable new sensors


  • Communications
  • Electrical circuits
  • Sensors
  • Capacitors
  • Solar radiation or new camouflage techniques
  • Electromagnetic shielding systems

Phase of Development - Prototype devices demonstrating self-assembly and 3D structures have been made in the laboratory. Fabricated GO microcubes have demonstrated tunable optical response.