Effect of defects on the intrinsic strength and stiffness of graphene

Ardavan Zandiatashbar, Gwan Hyoung Lee, Sung Joo An, Sunwoo Lee, Nithin Mathew, Mauricio Terrones, Takuya Hayashi, Catalin R. Picu, James Hone, Nikhil Koratkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

478 Citations (Scopus)


It is important from a fundamental standpoint and for practical applications to understand how the mechanical properties of graphene are influenced by defects. Here we report that the two-dimensional elastic modulus of graphene is maintained even at a high density of sp 3 -type defects. Moreover, the breaking strength of defective graphene is only ∼14% smaller than its pristine counterpart in the sp 3 -defect regime. By contrast, we report a significant drop in the mechanical properties of graphene in the vacancy-defect regime. We also provide a mapping between the Raman spectra of defective graphene and its mechanical properties. This provides a simple, yet non-destructive methodology to identify graphene samples that are still mechanically functional. By establishing a relationship between the type and density of defects and the mechanical properties of graphene, this work provides important basic information for the rational design of composites and other systems utilizing the high modulus and strength of graphene.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3186
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 24

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
N.K. and C.R.P. acknowledge the funding support from the US Office of Naval Research (Award Number: N000140910928) and the US National Science Foundation (Award Number: 1234641). N.K. also acknowledges support from the John A. Clark and Edward T. Crossan endowed chair professorship at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. J.H. acknowledges support from AFOSR MURI Program on new graphene materials technology, FA9550-09-1-0705, and G.-H.L. acknowledges the support from Samsung-SKKU Graphene Center. We thank Ryan Cooper and Jeffrey W. Kysar for fruitful discussion.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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