Hydroplastic foaming of graphene aerogels and artificially intelligent tactile sensors

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Science Advances  11 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 46, eabd4045
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd4045


Direct foaming from solids is the most efficient method to fabricate porous materials. However, the ideal foaming fails to prepare aerogel of nanoparticles because the plasticity of their solids is denied by the overwhelming interface interactions. Here, we invent a hydroplastic foaming method to directly convert graphene oxide solids into aerogel bulks and microarrays, replacing the prevalent freezing method. The water intercalation plasticizes graphene oxide solids and enables direct foaming instead of catastrophic fragmentation. The bubble formation follows a general crystallization rule and allows nanometer-precision control of cellular wall thickness down to 8 nm. Bubble clustering generates hyperboloid structures with seamless basal connection and renders graphene aerogels with ultrarobust mechanical stability against extreme deformations. We exploit graphene aerogel to fabricate tactile microarray sensors with ultrasensitivity and ultrastability, achieving a high accuracy (80%) in artificially intelligent touch identification that outperforms human fingers (30%).

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