Kirigami paper cutting art utilised to create nano-graphene devices
Physicists at Cornell University are replicating the paper-cutting art of Kirigami to produce nano-sized machinery from graphene.
Using graphene sheets that are 10 microns thick – approximately 14 percent of the thickness of a hair strand – the scientists used a laser cutter to create designs and then constructed the shapes. One of the creations was a soft spring that mimicked a flexible transistor.
The research also showed that the graphene had enough tensile strength to hold up in a simple hinge design, which would make the material applicable for foldable equipment on a small scale. The scientists tested the structure by opening and closing the hinge 10,000 times.
"It was really true exploration, cutting things out of paper and playing with them, trying to imagine how a 'hanging kirigami mobile for kids' could become a nanoscale spring for measuring forces or interacting with cells," comments Melina Blees, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.
A possible application in biology has been suggested, whereby nano-scale devices could be placed around human cells or in the brain.